Welcome to Linda Ikeji's Blog: 03/23/2008 - 03/30/2008





Saturday 29 March 2008

Top 10's + World's Most Expensive Hotel Rooms

Here's a list of 2007 Top 10's from books, to fashion, to crime and man made disasters, courtesy Time.com

Top 10 Fashion Must-Haves

#10. Cocktail Rings
It has been hard to miss the most popular jewelry trend of 2007. Enormous cocktail rings are being waved in your face everywhere. At parties they're seen on hands grasping glasses of champagne, and on the red carpet celebrities have mastered the artful pose of lifting their fingers toward the camera, gemstone angled just so.

#9. Red Lipstick
Ladies were pumping up their lips by painting them vibrant red this year, harkening back to the glamour of the early screen sirens. Deep red paired with minimal eye makeup made even the thinnest lips stand out in the crowd.

#8. Bright Tights
It's hard to believe that just a couple of years ago women preferred baring their legs in subzero temperatures to doing anything as sensible as wearing hosiery. That was before the explosion of leggings in 2006. This year the trend kept growing, literally, until the feet were finally covered. Crazy-colored tights have taken hold, and at long last, wearing skirts in the dead of winter is bearable again.

#6. Vests
The jury is still out on vests. Not quite mainstream womenswear yet, this traditional menswear piece has garnered its fair share of attention from the fashion press and has been spotted regularly in the celebrity-crazed tabloid weeklies. A great way to accent an otherwise humdrum outfit, the vest is a confident, androgynous statement. A piece of advice though: Too much obvious thought detracts from the offhand coolness of the style.

#5. Ankle Boots
In 2006 there were rumblings of an impending case of ankle-boot fever; by 2007 the infection had really taken hold. The ankle boot, and its more high-fashion cousin the bootie, was everywhere. Offering more warmth than a proper pump and more flexibility than a traditional knee-high boot, the ankle boot was the perfect transition shoe for spring and fall.

#4. Day Clutch
Every so often the fashion pendulum swings, and in bags, this was one of those years. After seasons of lugging around everything but the kitchen sink in a receptacle almost too big to carry, women hailed the return of the elegant and sophisticated day clutch. Jimmy Choo's oversize versions were an early hit with celebs, spurring runway appearances everywhere from Louis Vuitton to Fendi

#3. High-Waisted Jeans
After years of struggling to keep their bellies and behinds from falling out of low-rise pants, women finally got some coverage in 2007 with the comeback of high-waisted jeans.

#2. White Sunglasses
At first glimpse, sunglasses with stark white frames seemed destined to be nothing more than an oddball trend for Hollywood hipsters. After all, they're the polar opposite of the glamorous styles that have ruled for the past several years. But the influence of early-adopting trendsetters could not be denied, and soon the cheerily cool frames had caught on like wildfire. The standout shades can be found in nearly any style, but Ray-Ban Wayfarers reign supreme with the cool kids.

#1. The Tent Dress
The billowy, shapeless tent dress caused more than a few raised eyebrows when it first appeared in the spring — "tentlike" not being the kindest description one can give a garment — but shoppers were quickly won over. Light, airy and short, it was the perfect silhouette to beat the summer heat and gracefully disguise any extra pounds.

Top 10 Man-Made Disasters

#10. Congo Train Derailment
Eight cars fell off the tracks and seven of them rolled over when the brakes failed on a passenger train traveling between the cities of Ilebo and Kananga on Aug. 1. Train crews had to unhitch the locomotive and go in search of help, and the injured were carried to a hospital six miles away on bicycles and on people's backs. By the time recovery pulled the last bodies from the wreckage, the death toll stood at about 100.

#9. Mozambique Munitions Explosion
A stockpile of old ammunition, stored at a Mozambican army facility in the outskirts of the city of Maputo, blew up on Mar. 22, triggering fires and killing 117 people. According to the Mozambique Red Cross, heavy traffic in the area hampered the organizations attempts to rush volunteers to the site.

#8. Siberia Mine Explosion
Many of Russia's coal mines are aging, dilapidated and dangerous. The Ulyanovskaya mine, by contrast, located in the Kemerovo region of Siberia, about 2,000 miles east of Moscow, was less than five years old, and had modern safety features. None of that, however, was enough to prevent a massive methane explosion from ripping through the mine on Mar. 19, collapsing tunnels as the blast wave radiated from an epicenter nearly 900 ft. down. Working their way through smoke and flooded shafts, rescuers got more than 90 miners safely out — making the death toll of 107 a lot lower than it could easily have been.

#7. North Korea Oil Pipe Explosion
The fanatically secretive North Korean government rarely reports internal problems, so it fell to aid organizations to get the news out: On June 9, an aging oil pipeline sprung a leak in North Pyongyang province. Local residents in the fuel-starved country rushed in to scavenge what they could — and then the oil caught on fire and exploded. At a minimum, 110 people died, but it's unlikely that the government will ever acknowledge the incident at all.

#6. Utah Mine Collapse
For days afterward, mine owner Robert Murray insisted that it had been an earthquake — and indeed, seismologists confirmed that the earth had moved near Huntington, Utah, on Aug. 6. But the quake didn't cause the Crandall Canyon coal mine to collapse, trapping six miners inside. The quake was the collapse, as the mine, its walls weakened by decades of coal removal, gave way. Ten days later, three rescuers were killed by a second collapse, and shortly after that, attempts to reach the trapped men by drilling down from above were called off. The mine was sealed in October.

#5. Minneapolis Bridge Collapse
Bridges failed this year in China and in Guinea, killing 64 and 70 people, respectively. But the disaster that really grabbed U.S. headlines was the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis on Aug. 1, where the death toll reached only 9. The attention wasn't due only to Americans' interest in news that's closest to home. Rather, it was that the occurrence seemed so impossible: We think of our highways and other infrastructure as being so well built and so rigorously inspected and maintained as to be immune from such dramatic and sudden disintegration. But this tragedy probably resulted from a design imperfection when the bridge was built, followed by four decades of harsh weather and road salt, proving that nothing is failsafe.

#4. Yangtze River Dolphin Extinction
The Chinese called it baiji and "goddess of the Yangtze," and it was the only surviving member of a family of species that split off from saltwater whales and dolphins between 20 million and 40 million years ago. But now, according to a survey released in August, this rare freshwater mammal is almost certainly extinct — the first aquatic vertebrate species to disappear from the Earth in 50 years, and the first large mammal to fall victim to human impact. The multiple pressures: noisy boat collisions and dam construction that may have imperiled the sonar-driven animals, and overfishing — not for the dolphins themselves, but for river fish — with such indiscriminate techniques as netting, dynamite and powerful electric shocks. The disappearance of a top-level predator like the baiji — an indicator species that signals the health of its ecosystem — portends trouble for the Yangtze River and for the 400 hundred million people who depend on it.

#3. Southern California Forest Fires
California has been ravaged by wildfires for thousands of years; they're an essential part of the natural ecosystem. But the fires that burned hundreds of square miles between Oct. 20 and Nov. 6 — at the disaster's peak, 18 separate fires were burning, the worst of them in San Diego County — killing 10 people and forcing at least half a million more from their homes, weren't entirely natural. At least one, the Santiago Canyon blaze, was deliberately set, while two others — the Witch and Rice Canyon fires — were caused by downed power lines that ignited surrounding brush. Whether that brush should have been more thoroughly cleared, and whether people should be permitted to build homes in remote, fire-prone areas, are now matters of active debate, to say nothing of lawsuits.

#2. Brazil Plane Crash
Aviators call São Paolo's Congonhas Airport "the aircraft carrier," because landing on its notoriously short runway, surrounded by densely populated residential areas, is as touchy as trying to put down on the deck of a ship at sea. Though a Brazilian court had banned large jets from the airport in February, citing safety concerns, the ban was later overturned. On July 17, the pilot of TAM Airlines Flight JJ3054, tried to land at Congonhas, but realizing he wouldn't be able to stop in time on the rain-slicked tarmac, tried to take off again. He failed. The Airbus A320 skidded across a road, smashed into a gas station and then into a building owned by the airline. The ensuing fireball killed all 186 people on the plane and 13 more on the ground, making this the worst air disaster in Brazilian history.

#1. Global Warming
Nobody doubts anymore that climate change is at least in part man-made. And even if the effects of global warming remain at the most benign end of the predicted range, it will be a disaster of unprecedented proportions. For years, that disaster has been unfolding so slowly that it's been invisible. But now you can see it: Mountain glaciers around the world are melting, along with North polar sea ice and the ice cap atop Greenland; droughts are baking the U.S. southwest, Australia and sub-Saharan Africa; floods are devastating Bangladesh; and Central America is reeling from powerful hurricanes. Not all of these events can be tied absolutely to global warming, but all of them will surely become more frequent and intense as the world warms — ultimately threatening the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people.

Top 10 Nonfiction Books

#10. Here If You Need Me
by Kate Braestrup
When Braestrup's husband, Drew, a Maine state trooper, was killed in a traffic accident, leaving her alone with four small children, she did what any uncommonly brave, quirkily devout person would do: She became a Unitarian minister and a chaplain in the Maine Warden Service, the people responsible for rescuing (or recovering the bodies of) wayward hikers, drunken snowmobilers, straying children and other victims of Maine's pitiless northern terrain. She tells her story, and the stories of those she has helped and worked with and grieved with, with simplicity and intelligence and grace.

#9. The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
by Elyn R. Saks
Saks was valedictorian at Vanderbilt and a Marshall scholar at Oxford before she got her law degree from Yale. She also suffers from schizophrenia that has caused her to experience wild hallucinations, debilitating paranoia and violent psychotic breaks. As a clear-eyed portrait of a brilliant mind run off the rails, Saks's memoir recalls novels like The Bell Jar and I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. (Another great memoir of mental illness from 2007 that deserves a mention is Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's, by John Elder Robison, brother of the bestselling writer Augusten Burroughs.)

#8. The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court
by Jeffrey Toobin
An organization as closed, powerful and secretive as the Supreme Court, and as driven by powerful personalities, seems almost un-American, even though it protects and maintains the core of what makes this country work. Maybe that's why it's so fascinating. Toobin does an excellent job of introducing us to those personalities, with surprising access, penetrating analysis and a brisk narrative style. At their best the Supremes appear as heroic scholars of justice; at their worst they display all-too-human failings, including "vanity, overconfidence, impatience, arrogance and simple political partisanship."

#7. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
by Barbara Kingsolver
When Kingsolver and her family moved from arid Tuscon, Ariz., to verdant Appalachia, they upped the ante by deciding to eat only food they grew themselves, or which grew locally, for a full calendar year. They're not the first to try it, but they may be the funniest. Kingsolver and her family — who chip in on the writing — are never shrill or scoldy about their project, just quietly convincing, and they make the food in their agricultural epic practically vibrate with seductive organic intensity.

#6. Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
by Steve Martin
Martin was a standup comedian for 18 years. It's a bizarre occupation for a temperamentally private person, just as memoir is an odd genre for such a person to attempt, but Martin turns out to be a genius at both. Born Standing Up is full of hard-won personal truths, lightly tossed-off comic touches and astute observations about the 1970's, the decade when Martin made his bones — he played off 1970's culture as cleverly as Warhol or any of the punk musicians. He's also touchingly forthcoming about his difficult childhood, all the more so since his personal revelations come to us untainted by any hint of exhibitionism.

#5. The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century
by Alex Ross
A history of a violent, chaotic, transformative century told through its bizarre and challenging classical music. Ross is a supremely gifted writer who brings the political and technological richness of the world inside the magic circle of the concert hall, so that each illuminates the other. He has the critic's gift of allowing you to hear music the way he does; he writes about the works of daunting titans like Strauss and Schoenberg, Messiaen and Reich and Cage, in a way that makes them accessible, but without sacrificing his intellectual ambition or the technical precision of his critical language.

#4. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
by Tim Weiner
The infinitely fascinating, endlessly depressing history of the Central Intelligence Agency, much of which amounts, in Weiner's assessment, to one mistake and misfire and missed opportunity after another, in China, Iran, the Soviet Union, India, the Middle East and just about everywhere else the U.S. desperately needed inside information and didn't get it.

#3. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmael Beah
Beah was separated from his parents at age 12 when rebel soldiers attacked his village in Sierra Leone. By 13 he was a soldier, a killer many times over, armed to the teeth and wired on a mixture of cocaine and gunpowder. Beah's memory of his season in hell, and his eventual rescue and rehabilitation, are painfully sharp, and his memoir takes readers behind the dead eyes of the child-soldier in a way no other writer has.

#2. Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932
by John Richardson
This third installment of a majestic multi-volume biography finds Picasso in transition from his Bohemian youth to wealth, fame and marriage, and then to a romance with a very young mistress. As always Richardson is tart, judgmental, thoroughly knowledgeable and very readable.

#1. The World Without Us
by Alan Weisman
A thought-experiment: What would become of the earth if humanity were to softly and silently and suddenly vanish away? What starts as a morbid parlor game becomes a mesmerizing and grandly entertaining meditation on how horrifically humanity has managed to perturb our little planet, and with what wonderful blithe resilience said planet will shrug off all our works once we're gone. Weisman writes like Malcolm Gladwell and John McPhee mashed together and set on fast-forward in this spirit-enlarging, screech-free hymn to the environment.

Top 10 Crime Stories of 2007

#10. Fleecing a High-Society Mom
Brooke Astor, the glamorous New York City philanthropist and socialite who succumbed to Alzheimer's disease in her later years, died in August at the age of 105. Soon afterward, amid stunning allegations of elder abuse, neglect, and flat-out greed, her only son, Anthony Marshall, was charged with stealing, forgery and conspiracy to plunder his mother's estate. Marshall pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were brought against him more than a year after Astor's grandson sued to have Marshall removed as her guardian for allegedly allowing the once grand dame to live in squalor.

#9. O.J. Gets Busted
Really, O.J.? Really? Your alleged plan to run a civilian "sting operation" against the guy you claim was illegally selling your memorabilia consisted of you and a few gun-toting friends breaking into his Las Vegas hotel room and taking your stuff back by force? We're sure you would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for that pal of yours who tape-recorded the whole incident. O.J. pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him, including robbery, kidnapping and use of a deadly weapon, and his trial is scheduled to begin in April.

#8. A Wrestler's Rage
In June, World Wrestling Entertainment star Chris Benoit apparently dosed his wife and 7-year-old son with a sedative before strangling them in their Georgia home and then hanging himself using the cord from a weight machine. The popular wrestler left no suicide note. Amid media speculation that the double murder-suicide was brought on by steroid use and so-called "roid rage," a toxicologist concluded that despite finding elevated levels of testosterone — possibly as a result of treatment for past steroid abuse — in Benoit's body, there was nothing in his system that contributed to the violent behavior.

#7. Execution-Style Slayings in Newark
Everyone who knew them said they were good kids. Three were enrolled at Delaware State University, and the fourth planned to join his friends there shortly. So when they were lined up against a schoolyard wall in Newark, N.J., and shot execution-style (one survived) in early August, it rattled the city and its idealistic young mayor, Cory Booker, who had been elected a year earlier on promises to reduce crime. The murders also stoked a national debate about immigration after it was revealed that one of the six suspects was an illegal immigrant free on bail on child-rape charges at the time of the killings.

#6. Slave Labor in China
Hundreds of laborers forced to work as slaves at illegal brick kilns in northern China were freed in June. The slaves, some of whom were minors, had been kidnapped or lured to the factories, where they were physically abused and, in a few cases, murdered. Dozens of people were convicted for their role in the slavery scandal, including the son of a local Communist Party official, and one kiln employee — who confessed to killing a mentally handicapped man for not working hard enough — was sentenced to death.

#5. Bribery in Iraq
In the largest bribery case to come out of the Iraq war, Army Maj. John Cockerham was indicted in August for taking $9.6 million in bribes while he was a contracting officer in Kuwait. He allegedly accepted the payments in return for promising to award contracts for such things as bottled water through a rigged bidding process. He and his wife and sister were also charged with money-laundering and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. All three have pleaded not guilty

#4. Fiery Attack at Glasgow Airport
In June, two men drove a Jeep into the arrivals terminal of the Glasgow airport and set the car ablaze in an attempted suicide attack. The driver died from third-degree burns. He and his passenger, a British-born Muslim doctor who owned the Jeep, are believed to have planted car bombs that were found in London shortly before the Glasgow incident. The attack highlighted the extent to which Islamist anger with the Western world could radicalize even educated professionals.

#3. The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
On the night of May 3, British tourists Kate and Gerry McCann left their three young children asleep in a Portuguese resort while they dined nearby. When they returned, 3-year-old Madeleine was gone. So began a mystery that continues to befuddle investigators. David Beckham and other celebrities were enlisted to help find the girl amid theories that she might have been kidnapped by international pedophile gangs. The McCanns were eventually named as suspects after tiny amounts of the girl's bodily fluids were found in a car her parents had rented several weeks after she went missing. The McCanns claim the evidence is inconclusive.

#2. The Jena 6
The incident, which drew attention to what many Americans consider a double-tiered justice system, started after nooses hung from a tree at a high school in Jena, La., sparked a rash of interracial fights. In December 2006, six black students were charged with beating a white one, and thousands of civil rights activists would eventually march in Jena to protest the incarceration of one of the so-called Jena 6, Mychal Bell. In June an all-white jury convicted him of second-degree battery by concluding that his tennis shoes had been used as a dangerous weapon. His conviction as an adult was overturned, but he eventually pleaded guilty to the same charge as a juvenile.

#1. Massacre at Virginia Tech
On Apr. 16, Cho Seung-Hui, a troubled Virginia Tech senior, killed 32 people before taking his own life in the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. The episode brought many unsettling issues to the fore, including loopholes that let the mentally ill buy guns, privacy laws that restrict school counselors' ability to tell others about a distressed student and the difficulty universities have in alerting entire campuses to imminent danger. The role of the media was also scrutinized after NBC aired photos and video that Cho had mailed to the network in between killing two people in a dorm and shooting many more in classrooms.
Worlds Most Expensive Hotel Rooms

The Peninsula - Hong KongPeninsula Suite-$5,000 per night
Hong Kong.

Claridge's The Brook Penthouse/The Davies Penthouse-$5,482 per night

The Bellagio-Bellagio Villas-$6,000 per night
Las Vegas

Burj Al Arab-Royal Suites-$6,850 per night
United Arab Emirates.

Hotel Meurice -Belle Etoile Suite-$7,300 per night

The Çirağan Palace Hotel Kempinski-Sultan's Suite-$7,500 per night
Istanbul, Turkey.

Regent Beverly Wilshire-Penthouse Suite-$7,500 per night
Los Angeles.

The Fairmont Hotel-Penthouse Suite-$10,000 per night
San Francisco.

Hotel Cala di Volpe-Presidential Suite-$13,879 per night
Costa Smeralda.
Westin Excelsior Villa La Cupola -$14,312
Rome, Italy

The Atlantis Bridge Suite - $25,000 per night
Island, Bahamas.

The Plaza Hotel-Presidential Suite-$15,000 per night
New York, N.Y.

President Wilson Hotel-The Imperial Suite-$23,000 per night
Geneva, Switzerland.

Saxophonist Jason Rae, 31, was found dead in his apartment in the U.K. on Saturday, the victim of an apparent drug overdose. He was the husband of British singer, Corrine Bailey Rae.

The Texas Seven.
The story of the convicted criminals who broke out of prison and inspired the hot TV series Prison Break. Check it out here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_7

"Never underestimate a man who overestimates himself"
Astala bye bye.

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