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Nine Things Everyone Should Be Able To Do By Age 30


girl, working, millennial, gen y, officeHow to budget

Whether you’re looking ahead to your 30th birthday or are smirking from a place of divine wisdom, check out these 10 things everyone should know by 30—and tell us what you think.

According to a nationwide survey conducted by LearnVest and Chase Blueprint®, only 38% of people have a monthly budget, and fewer than half are aware of what’s available each month for discretionary spending.

This varies little across the gender, age or income groups.

It goes without saying that LearnVest prizes the power of budgeting. After all, a budget isn’t intended to limit you, but free you: Once you know how much you need to set aside for certain goals, you learn how much you have at your disposal to spend on the things you want, the life that will make you happy.

To get started with your budget, check out the LearnVest Money Center, where you can see exactly how much you’re spending and saving each month. For awesome budgeting action on the go, try LearnVest’s new iPhone app.

How to cook (at least one) signature dish

Living off nothing but pasta and canned tuna is all well and good when you’re fresh out of college or still embracing your inner bachelor, but at a certain point, your palate should mature—without your wallet picking up the slack.

We know not everyone is born a culinary wonder, nor wants to become one, but with at least ten cable channels devoted to food, you can pick a culinary idol to emulate and a signature dish or three that will do more than simply sustain you.

Why? Cooking at home is healthier for your waistline and your budget, not to mention for family bonding time. Here are some healthy food ideas for you, and here are all our easy, quick and delicious recipes.

How to write professionally

Sure, you speak and write English, but when occasion calls, can you draft a cover letter, résumé or email that commands attention? Your career could depend on it.

Writing professionally applies not just to official memos to your department head. It also comes in handy when you want to negotiate a bill with customer service, or even write a thank you note. Even in less formal contexts, you’ll be remembered by the emails you send—and they form a permanent, written record of your work.

Here are 10 steps to writing a more professional email, and 7 work email sins to avoid.

How not to part with your hard-earned cash

Sure, your 20s may be the decade of impulse buys, but with age should come fewer occasions for buyer’s remorse.

Here's an easy rule of thumb anyone who's spent three decades on Earth should consider before plunking down a wallet: Ask yourself whether you’ll be glad in a month that you own this purchase. Then think about what else you could do with that money. Would you rather have this thing, or that lump sum?

To help you figure out whether the purchase is the right one for you, LearnVest built The Purchase Appraiser, an interactive tool to help you nip bad spending decisions in the bud once and for all.

How to change a flat tire

Changing a tire in the cold by yourself sounds way less than fun, but this adult skill can save you in a bind, both in terms of money and safety. Read: You don’t have to pay for a tow truck, and you don’t have to sit by a sketchy roadside for hours waiting for AAA. Want to learn how? Check out this video.

How to look up your credit report

Your credit is one of the most fundamental building blocks of your financial life. Solid credit enables you to do everything from getting a mortgage to taking out an auto loan. Good credit also means you’ll be eligible for credit cards with better perks and lower interest rates.

Certainly, a big part of maintaining good credit is paying all your bills on time, but there’s another component people often forget: checking your credit report to make sure there are no errors. Credit reporting agencies screw up surprisingly often, and no one is going to make sure they’re doing right by you, except you.

So, by 30 (really, well before), everyone should know how to check her credit report. And hey, what do you know: LearnVest even has a step-by-step checklist to help you do just that.

How to manage your money... digitally

You shop online, have made the transition to going paperless (after all, seven years of bank statements eat up a lot of filing space!) and, if you're a responsible money manager, by now you ought to have made the leap to knowing where your money goes while you're on the go.

In fact, that's why LearnVest created our new iPhone app. These days apps can help us do everything from save on groceries to organize our desktops, but there's nothing more useful than seeing where every cent you earn or spend goes ... in real time. Of course, this isn't just for people over 30, but we know it's the future, so it's best to get on board now!

How to move on

We mean this in the broadest sense possible, whether it’s moving on after you didn’t get the job you wanted, after learning that the mortgage for the home you loved is way out of your price range, and, okay, sure, getting over old relationships.

The sting of disappointment is no less sharp, whether you’re 13, 30 or 300. But wisdom means having the tools to recognize which battles are fight-able, and when you need to get on with your life. (In other words, don’t keep harassing the hiring manager weeks after you’ve been turned down from a job.)

Healthy approaches to moving on: talking to your friends, doing a little yoga to relax, looking for the new chapter to follow.

Unhealthy approaches: drinking away your pain, taking your credit card to the mall to buy your way out. (Here are 8 top spending triggers to watch out for—and how to thwart them.)

How to strike a balance between work and life

How much time do you spend thinking about how you spend your time?

One of the hottest conversations in America is the perennial one about work-life balance: From moms too busy to take maternity leave to more women than ever burning out in the workplace by age 30. Some experts have argued that the key is less about work-life balance than work-life purpose, or prioritizing what’s important to you and fitting it into a composite of who you are, and what you do with your time.

Whatever this means for you, don’t wait until you’re decades into a career you don’t love, before making changes. Start now, by thinking about what makes you tick, and what your long-term goals are. Not sure where to start? Here are eight of the best ways you can use your time to lead a richer life.

SEE ALSO: The 10 best US cities to become a millionaire >

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Now You Can Buy Home Decor Made From The Debris Of Hurricane Sandy


Downed trees, ruined buildings, and a whole lot of trash continue to be a major problem for New York residents still cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy. But NYC design writer Jennifer Gorsche saw more than just trash — she saw an opportunity for the design community to come together and raise money for Sandy victims.

Gorsche contacted her friends and colleagues who were furniture designers and asked them to create home items made from found Sandy debris to be auctioned off for charity.

What started as a small idea soon grew into a coalition of 24 designers and a silent auction. Called Reclaim NYC, artists and designers have submitted everything from table tops to wall art made from storm refuse, all to raise money for storm recovery.

The auction will be held at Ligne Roset's SoHo Showroom on December 19 from 7-9pm. Space is limited, so be sure to RSVP on the event page, and check out participating designers and their creations at Reclaim NYC's Facebook.

See some of the designs to be auctioned off below.

Reclaim NYC


Reclaim NYC


Reclaim NYC

SEE ALSO: See What It's Like To Live In An 89-Square-Foot 'Tiny Home'

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The Strangest Baby Names This Year


Cute baby

Picking the perfect name for your child is one of the most important aspects of parenthood. And parents today are getting more creative than ever before in their choices for baby names.

BabyCenter.com recently came out with its list of the most unusual baby names of 2012.

There were some very unusual names this year. Monalisa made the list, along with Rogue (like X-Men), J’Adore (like the Dior perfume), and Jagger (like Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones or the Maroon 5 song “Moves Like Jagger”).

Next year promises to continue the trend of bizarre baby-naming with some even more unusual names, according to a recent article by Nameberry.com, which predicted the top 14 baby-naming trends for 2013. The online baby name guide wrote that more American babies will have Leonine names (like "Leon," "Leo," and "Leonora"), mid-century names inspired by Mad Men (like "Hank," "Millie," and "Monty"), and names that reference Hurricane Sandy ("Cassandra," "Sandra," and even "Storm").

And because parents aren’t even limited to real names anymore, as some opt for non-name names, the possibilities are truly endless.

Scroll down to see the list of other unusual names that have graced birth certificates in 2012.

Unusual Girls Names 2012Unusual Baby Names 2012

SEE ALSO: How The Most Popular Baby Names Have Changed Over Time

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15 Of New York City's Coolest Unexplored Places


city hall subway station

Untapped New York is a proud to be a partner of Let’s Go, with our shared vision for off-the-beaten path exploration in your own city and while traveling.

See the best "untapped" places in NYC >

To launch the collaboration, we curated a list of our top “Untapped” places from our home base in New York City.

These are all tried and true urban exploration sites that we’ve gone behind the scenes to cover on Untapped New York.

How many have you been to? What others would you add to the list?

1. The TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy Airport

Decommissioned in 2001 after the construction of the Jet Blue terminal, this cathedral to aviation by Eero Saarinen fills you with the pride and optimism the aviation industry had in the 1960s. Preservation efforts have saved it from the wrecking ball and there are proposals to turn the TWA Flight Center into a hotel.

2. High Line Section 3

In the concrete jungle that is New York, it’s surprising to see nature in its chaotic, uncontrolled form.

The celebrated High Line still has a section yet to be converted into a park and you can sneak onto it if you know where to enter. Groundbreaking happened earlier this year on this sectio, which will become part of the Hudson Yards development, so see it soon.

3. Doyers Street Tunnel

On notorious Doyers Street in Chinatown, nicknamed “The Bloody Angle” because the curvilinear street enabled gangs to creep up on each other, you can still visit one of the tunnels which enabled some escapes.

One entrance to the tunnel is in the middle of Doyers Street, near the the trendy bar Apotheke, and takes you out into Confucius Plaza on Bowery.

The tunnel is populated by small businesses, ranging from medicinal shops, employment agencies, travel agencies, law firms and reflexology.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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12 Developing Countries Where The Millionaire Population Is Exploding [Infographic]


It's no secret that emerging markets are producing an increasing number of millionaires each year.

The Financialist, Credit Suisse's digital magazine about business and economies, recently released a Global Wealth Report which looked at personal wealth around the globe. The report found that in the next five years more and more millionaires will come from countries in the developing world, such as Brazil and China.

By 2017, China, which currently has 964,000 millionaires, will have 1,901,000 millionaires—a growth of 97 percent, according to The Financialist. And Brazil, which currently has 227,000 millionaires, will have 497,000 millionaires by 2017—a growth of 119 percent. Russia and Malaysia will also see their numbers of millionaires grow over the next five years with a growth of 109 percent and 108 percent respectively.

See the full infographic below.

Millionaires Infographic

SEE ALSO: The 10 Best US Cities To Become A Millionaire

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How To Plan A Trek Through Patagonia's Majestic And Icy 'Torres Del Paine'


patagonia torres del paine

Patagonia looks like “Alaska on steroids,” my kids remarked.

My family came over winter break to backpack the 87-mile Paine Circuit. It circles the Paine massif of 10,000ft (3,200m) peaks and edges a 240-mile-long glacier before climbing to a wind-tunnel pass and looping back around. It’s considered one of the top treks in the world.

At the Valle de Frances, we stood atop a ridge surrounded by sheer rock pinnacles — spires of chiseled stone emerging from the clouds, their tops frosted in snow, and trailing robes of glaciers at their feet. Ice chunks bobbed in the ultramarine lakes, calved off from the glaciers, appearing as if a bubble of blue sky was contained inside. The turbulent rivers ran milk white from glacial sediment.

There were oceans of flowers — hillsides so thick with daisies that from above it looked like snow covered the ground, and walking through them nearly made us seasick from their bobbing, wind-blown heads. Guanacos grazed on the grasslands. Condors, with their 10ft wing span, glided around the peaks.

Climbing up alongside the enormous shoulder of Grey Glacier, we thought about how the larger Southern Patagonia Icefield is the most extensive outside the world’s polar regions. Grey is one of the icefield’s 19 major glaciers. The field of ice literally fills the valley and chokes the mountain ranges, rearing up like a bowed back of an animal as it swallows entire rock islands. The far side of the glacier is guarded by snowy peaks, extending their own tongues of ice to drool into the river. Above the tree line, you can’t see the glacier’s source, for it spreads for 240 miles.

Planning your route

Planning a trek around the entire perimeter of the national park, or even hiking the shorter “W” route — which hits all the scenic highlights of the southern side—can seem daunting. You don’t need a guide, but it’s good to have some guidance. Start by obtaining a copy of Lonely Planet’s Trekking in the Patagonian Andes. Once you decide on the number of days you want to spend in the park, you can begin to plan your trek.

Besides the main circular loop, which takes a good 7-8 days, there’s a shorter W-shaped trail. The arms of the W are trails that reach up into the throats of the mountains, stopping at viewpoints of turquoise lakes carved into of the cupped palms of the peaks. There are primitive campsites located near these dead ends, which make for good bases for photographing for some of the most spectacular sunrises I’ve ever seen.

A hiker should be in good shape to attempt the entire circuit. We planned 7- to 14-mile days, averaging about 10-11. The day you get dropped off and picked up by the bus, of course, will be abbreviated in mileage.

Our hiking schedule (clockwise)

Day 1 – 3 ½ miles to Camp Chileno (travel day)
Day 2 – 13 miles to Los Cuernos Campground
Day 3 – 11.5 miles to Italinao Camp
Day 4 – 11.5 miles to Refugio Gray
Day 5 – 7 miles to Campo Pass
Day 6 – 13 miles to Dickenson Camp
Day 7 – 11 miles to Seron Camp
Day 8 – 10 miles (travel day)

On arrival: Transportation and accommodation

You’ll probably fly into Punta Arenas, Chile (after a connecting flight through Santiago or Buenos Aires). The region’s bus system is frequent, inexpensive, and nearly luxurious, making it unnecessary to rent a car. Plus, a car would have to sit unattended for many days. From Punta Arenas, hop a bus to Puerto Natales, your kickoff point for the national park. Next, secure a room at the Erratic Rock hostel or their B&B, owned by Portlander Bill Penhallow.

Erratic Rock leads a daily free seminar on how to navigate the park, obtain permits, arrange bus schedules, help design a schedule and a route of travel, rent equipment, and even gives instructions on how to set up a tent if you are a complete greenhorn. You get all this valuable info whether you stay at Erratic Rock or not. But you may as well, for they offer a great breakfast (included in your overnight stay), are very friendly, and will allow you to store your excess traveling gear and luggage until you’ve completed your visit to Torres del Paine.

On the climate: What you need to wear

Patagonia weather is bizarre, even in the summer. One minute it batters you with frigid cold, spitting hail, and driving sleet. Fifteen minutes later, you could be sweating like terrariums, ripping off raingear, and slathering on sunscreen (the ozone hole is directly overhead). Sometimes it rains when the sky is brilliant blue overhead, for the precipitation is carried from miles away on the winds. Clouds race at such speed that it’s worth waiting at any viewpoint, however swallowed in clouds and inclement weather.

You’ll need lightweight, cold-weather clothing, regardless if this is Patagonia’s ‘summer.’ A warm sleeping bag and quality raingear are also essential. Think hypothermic conditions, and leave all cotton clothing at home.

Hiking here is challenging, with the trail often laden with rock and roots. It climbs and descends steeply. River fords are across swinging suspension bridges, or rock hopping where you must wait for the wind to take a breather so you can cross without getting thrown in. Sometimes you have to walk through frigid water that was locked in an ancient glacier an hour ago. A few ravines have 50-foot steel ladders to assist you. Pack sturdy hiking sandals for the fords, and wear boots with ankle support.

Shelter on the trek

We established a system where we’d stash our packs at the campgrounds early, and then climb high into the points of the W on day hikes, returning to the campgrounds by day’s end.

More comfortable than camping are the refugio beds, which come with a hot meal. Accommodations fill up early, so you need to be on top of reservations if you go December through February. Our family came prepared with cooking gear and food, but it’s easy to run out on the circuit. You can purchase hardboiled eggs, homemade bread, cookies, salami, etc. at the refugios to supplement your stash. Some of the campgrounds are free, but they’re not always at the most convenient location or fit into your schedule. Carry a wad of Chilean pesos, but you’ll also need Argentinean cash for the buses to go back and forth across the borders as you travel.

Gauchos resupply the refugios, leading teams of horses laden with lashed crates. The gauchos wear leather-strapped boots and spurs, knickers with sheathed knives stuck in the rear of their pants, and black berets. The horses are not strung together but herded boisterously as they gallop off after their work is finished.

The wind is ferocious up in the pass, but usually it’s at your back if you hike the circuit clockwise. It roared off the glacier and propelled us up and over, inflating our rain gear like we were balloons tethered to the earth by our heavy backpacks. When we yelled with pride at the monument marking the pass, the wind ripped the sound right out of our mouths. In Patagonia nature is boss, and we felt privileged to catch a glimpse.

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The 15 Worst Gifts To Give The Women In Your Life


instagram college humor photography

It should go without saying that the perfect gift isn’t the same for everyone: There are men hoping for cologne and women longing for power tools.

But that doesn’t stop us from having some fun and a contest around truly horrible gifts. Today’s post is about bad gifts for women – tomorrow it will be the boys’ turn.

Those five lame gifts aren’t the only ones that will disappoint.

Before you hit the check-out lane, check out this year’s list of the 15 worst gifts for women.

1. Any appliance she didn’t ask for

Unless she specifically asked for a waffle maker or blender, don’t buy her one.

Even women who enjoy cooking don’t want to feel it’s expected.

2. Clothes

Clothes are a no-no for several reasons.

There’s the size issue – if you get her something too big, she’ll probably be offended; if you get her something too small, she might feel bad about herself.

There’s also the style issue.

If a wardrobe makeover is what she wants, make a nice card promising to take her on a shopping spree with your cash.

3. A framed picture of yourself

This “gift” is strangely common, based on personal experience and its presence on almost every “worst gifts” list out there.

Nothing says you’re self-absorbed like a framed photo of yourself posing like a model.

And the picture of yourself when you were 6 years old? That’s not cute either.

Better idea? A picture of the two of you doing something memorable.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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This $2 Million Supercar Will Only Be Available In China


Koenigsegg one:1

Not to be outdone by Audi’s China-only, US$421,925 R8 coupe, Swedish hypercar manufacturer Koenigsegg hopes to tickle the fancy of the Chinese buyer with its One:1 concept.

To be limited to only five cars, priced at an estimated $2 million, the One:1 is named after the car’s jaw-dropping one horsepower per kilogram. (Which would make it one of the world’s fastest cars.)

While China is the main target market for the concept car, Koenigsegg is also touring the Middle East in search of potential buyers.

Despite constant demand somewhere in China for the best and biggest, we’ll be interested to see if Koenigsegg manages to find enough orders to actually put the One:1 into production.

Some ultra-high-end manufacturers have had a tougher time in the country as of late, with Lamborghini calling the Chinese market “a little quiet” this year.

At the very niche level, however, limited but real demand remains, as Bugatti sold a record six units in Greater China in the first three quarters of 2012.

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Man Who Had A Ridiculous Excuse For Defacing A Rothko Masterpiece Gets 2 Years In Jail


tate rothko

A Polish man was jailed for two years in Britain on Thursday for defacing a mural by US artist Mark Rothko at London's Tate Modern gallery.

Wlodzimierz Umaniec, 26, on October 7 scrawled his name on Rothko's "Black On Maroon", which is worth between £5 million and £9 million ($8-$14.5 million, 6.2-11.1 million euros).

Umaniec, who lives in Worthing, southeast England, admitted criminal damage to the value of more than £5,000 -- but estimates suggest restoration of the painting will cost around £200,000.

Umaniec, who co-founded the artistic movement "yellowism", stepped over a barrier and daubed his name and "12, a potential piece of yellowism" on the artwork before fleeing.

Outside court before the sentencing, Ben Smith, who called himself a "yellowist", attempted to explain the concept: "Everything is equal. Everything is art. Everything is a potential piece of yellowism."

When sentencing Umaniec at Inner London Crown Court, judge Roger Chapple told him his actions were "entirely deliberate, planned and intentional".

He said it was "wholly and utterly unacceptable" to promote his movement by "damaging a work of art" which the judge called a "gift to the nation".

Rothko donated the painting to the Tate in 1969.

Chapple said Umaniec was "plainly an intelligent man", but the effects of security reviews forced by his actions will "distance the public from the works of art they come to enjoy".

Work to restore the painting will be complex and take around 20 months, the court heard, because the ink Umaniec used had permeated the paint layers and the canvas beneath.

The defaced painting is one of Rothko's Seagram murals commissioned by New York's Four Seasons restaurant in 1958.

It arrived in London for display at Tate Modern's sister gallery on February 25, 1970 -- the day the artist committed suicide aged 66.

A large-scale painting by Rothko fetched $86.9 million at a New York auction in May, setting a record for any contemporary work of art.

The Russian-born expressionist painter became a giant of the modern art world through his simplified and colourful compositions inspired by mythology and primitive art.

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How To Be Stylish On A Shoestring Budget


ebay redesign pinterest

Purse Strings: If you're looking to update your wardrobe without breaking the bank, try online outlets and flash sales says Kara Gammell in Telegraph Wonder Women's weekly money advice column.

If you are running out of room in your wardrobe, you are not the only one.

New figures from Sainsbury’s Bank suggests that the average consumer owns more than £1,890 worth of clothing and footwear.

If this sounds like you, you will know that looking good doesn’t seem to come cheap. So now might be a good time to start looking to bag a bargain when it comes to updating your wardrobe further. Read on for three ways to stay stylish on a budget.

1. Online outlets

Many high street retailers try to shift their end-of-the-line stock, ex-display items or returns by slashing the prices and selling through their online shops – and if you know where to look you can save a fortune.

If you need a new pair of shoes for the Christmas party season, check out Shoeaholics ( shoeaholics.com ), where you can find shoes from high street retailer Kurt Geiger for as much as 80pc off. Also on the site are accessories and men’s products.

Similarly, Marks and Spencer ( outlet.marksandspencer.com ) has an online outlet which can be good for some wardrobe staples. While Figleaves ( figleaves.com/uk/outlet ), Monsoon ( uk.monsoon.co.uk/uk/outlet ) and Joules ( joules.com/Outlet-Clothing ) are also worth a look.

2. Ebay shops

If you have shunned looking for fashion finds on eBay before, it's time to look again. Many retailers sell their products through the eBay Fashion Gallery which is a designated area within site selling over 100 fashion brands. Each store within the eBay Fashion Gallery is either directly managed by the brand itself or by a trusted retailer who has established relationships with the brands they sell. Postage rates and delivery times vary depending on which brand you buy from, so always check before you click 'buy'.

Brands available include Pied a Terre ( stores.ebay.co.uk/piedaterre ), House of Fraser ( stores.ebay.co.uk/houseoffraser ), French Connection ( stores.ebay.co.uk/frenchconnectionoutlet ) and Office ( stores.ebay.co.uk/OfficeShoes ).

3. Flash sales

There is no reason to pay top dollar for designer labels – especially when you can find discounts of up to 80pc so long as you know where to look.

Flash sales are exactly what their name suggests – sales in a flash. With an air of exclusivity and luxury brand names, flash sale websites host time-limited sales for members only.

How these websites work is simple. They order stock from designers after the sale has closed, enabling them to pass on the biggest savings. And with free membership and discounts of up to 80pc, shoppers are now logging on in their thousands.

The only drawback from these sites is that delivery can take up to four weeks, but many shoppers will think it is worth the wait.

Worth a look is Brandalley.co.uk which sells big-name fashion and beauty products for a fraction of the price.

Sales this month have included Ted Baker, Joules, Miu Miu and Prada.

Cocosa.com is an invitation-only website where each week different designers offer discounts on clothing and accessories. Recent sales include Missoni, Michael Kors and Alice by Temperley.

It’s free to join, but you do need an invitation from a friend who is already a member – your friend will get a £15 voucher when you make your first purchase.

If you don’t know anyone who has signed up, you can join the waiting list on the website, but it will only take a few days for your account to be activated.

Another site to check out if you are looking for a good deal is SecretSales.com which offers discounts of up to 70pc off fashion and beauty products. Fashion sales this month have included Dior, Converse and Valentino.

Don't forget

Keep in mind that as with all items purchased online, 'distance selling' regulations entitle you to a cooling-off period of seven days from the day your goods arrive, during which you can change your mind and ask for a refund, no questions asked.

Telegraph Wonder Women wants to hear what's on your mind when it comes to money. Are you perplexed by pensions, enraged by energy bills or confused by childcare costs? Email your questions or comments to wonderwomen@telegraph.co.uk with 'Purse Strings' in the subject line and we'll consider including them in future columns.

SEE ALSO: 21 ways rich people think differently >

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Don't Believe The Hype About Britain Quitting Illegal Drugs



"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" summed up the response from the Home Office, and later David Cameron, to the publication of the home affairs select committee's year-long inquiry into drug policy last week. Why waste time on setting up a royal commission into drug policy (something his coalition partners, in contrast, went on to call for) when our current drug policy is working? The key evidence for this, quoted like a mantra by the government, is falling drug use. But the "falling drug use" plank on which the government is walking is a very shaky one.

For sure, drug use has been falling since its peak in 2002, although that was after a significant rise spread across the previous two decades. According to the British Crime Survey, in 1996 just over 11% of adults had used an illegal drug in the past year. By 2002 it had peaked at just under 12%. In 2012 the figure sits at just under 9%.

However, Britain is not a nation that has simply fallen out of love with illegal drugs. Drug use remains both higher than in 1990 and than in the rest of Europe and by no means are we witnessing a decline in use across the board.

The prime mover behind the downward trend is cannabis, the most popular illegal drug. Its decline (10.9% of people had used it in the previous year in 2002 compared to 6.9% now) in popularity, especially among young people, has come at a time when the cannabis market has become saturated by the vastly more potent skunk. Combined with the smoking ban, cannabis appears to be a drug going out of fashion, consumed in a way which is (increasingly) socially unacceptable. Yet this is not a result of the domestic policy of this or any other government, it is a Europe-wide trend that has been going on for more than a decade.

Class A drug use is higher than it was 15 years ago. Despite falling from a peak in 2002, ecstasy and cocaine are still vastly popular drugs taken by many thousands of people in a wide range of venues, with anywhere between one quarter and a half of club-goers estimated to take illegal drugs on a night out.

The established dance drugs have been joined by a growing array of new and increasingly popular substances such as mephedrone, ketamine, GHB/GBL, as well as scores of legal highs.

The increasingly widespread use of mephedrone is turning the cheap, easily available and potent stimulant into an "everyman drug", with pockets of popularity across the UK ranging from teenagers to injecting heroin users. Combined as it is on a night out with an expanding menu of legal and illegal highs, and with many users having little idea of exactly what white powder they are consuming – even mephedrone has a plethora of street names – it is now ever harder for surveys to accurately identify trends in drug use.

In fact, despite the welcome news that heroin use is falling among young people, in parts of the north-west including Greater Manchester and Cumbria, crime statistics attest to a significant increase in heroin-related acquisitive crime such as burglaries, bicycle thefts and vehicle thefts, and recessions do not bode well for problem drug use.

In an age of online drug retailers selling an alphabet soup of legal and illegal substances, we don't even know what the future holds and complacency in the face of falling cannabis use is a risky strategy. Heroin, ecstasy, and most recently mephedrone, blindsided the government, the police and even some frontline drug workers. But what we do know from our own research is that the UK appetite for psychoactive drugs remains resilient and thus sustains an illegal market back to Afghanistan, Colombia, China and Peru.

Moreover, drug use is not the only measure of how the drug trade impacts on our children. A quarter of all people convicted of supplying Class A drugs in Britain are 21 or under and the number of teenage drug dealers arrested, charged and locked up for drug dealing is rising every year.

Within hours of the publication of the select committee's inquiry, government officials had already dismissed the report's major recommendation – to urgently re-examine failing drug laws – out of hand. This is despite an agreement made in the wake of David Nutt's sacking from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, for government to "demonstrably allow for proper consideration" of scientific advice.

The government's attempts at using the fig leaf of falling drug statistics to hide persistent political inertia is ridiculous. Are not the huge social, financial and health costs to society of the status quo enough to warrant more than a cursory glance? When the official statistics begin to rise again, as they may well do, will David Cameron promise to open the drug policy attic and investigate, or will there merely be calls again to get "tougher" in the war on drugs?

This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

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The Owners Of Venice's Iconic Harry's Bar Have Been Forced Out Over Millions In Debt


harry's bar veniceThe family behind Harry's Bar, the legendary Venice drinking hole where Charlie Chaplin and Ernest Hemingway once raise their glasses, has been asked to step aside for the first time in 80 years as it sinks under a mountain of debt.

After three years of losses, the bar has accumulated a debt of almost six million euros (£4.9 million) and creditors are now demanding a restructure of the world-renowned bar and restaurant.

President and managing director Arrigo Cipriani, the 80-year-old son of Giuseppe who opened the bar's doors in 1931, has been forced to step aside after external commissioners were appointed by the Banca Popolare di Vicenca and the Banco Popolare.

The banks have asked Gianluca D'Avanzo and Salvatore Cerchione from Blue Sky Investment, the Luxembourg company that runs the group with the family, to supervise the restructure and radically cut costs.

It is the first time that the Cipriani family has been asked to play a secondary role in the running of the Italian bar which has hosted film stars from Humphrey Bogart to Woody Allen, European royalty and billionaires including Aristotle Onassis over the years.

Mr Cipriani said he had sought several times to negotiate with the bar's 75 staff members in a bid to lower costs but could not avert a strike in March.

"They didn't want to believe there were problems and we had to take a step back. Now they have to believe it and others have the job of reducing the costs one way or the other," he said.

"These two managers must reach an agreement with staff to reduce costs and avoid sackings."

Declared a national landmark by the Italian government in 2001, the bar is known for its signature Bellini cocktail and classic dry martinis as well as its traditional carpaccio.

It also spawned a worldwide empire of bars and restaurants from New York to Istanbul run by Mr Cipriani and his own son Giuseppe.

But Mr Cipriani insists that Venice is the only establishment fighting for its survival.

"From 2008 to today we have seen a 20 to 30 per cent fall in our clientele. These days many day trippers come to Venice, but not quality tourists," he said.

"We cannot deny that we miss the Americans who were a guaranteed clientele for the whole year, we are feeling that. And that is not compensated by the new wave of rich Russians or Chinese. Maybe in the years to come they will replace the Americans. But today that is not so."

Despite the successful global expansion of the business, Mr Cipriani and his son have made controversial headlines in the past. They pleaded guilty to tax evasion in the US in 2007 and agreed to pay $10 million (£6.2 million) in restitution and penalties in New York.

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There Has Been An Alarming Spike In Gender Inequality In Japan


japan tokyo women youth

After 17 years of growing support for gender equality in Japan, there was a dramatic reversal in a survey released yesterday.

The share of Japanese who thought wives should stay at home jumped 10.3 percentage points to 51.6 percent between 2009 and 2012, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The biggest shift occured among youth, as 55.7 percent of men in their twenties said wives should stay home, up 21.4 points from the last survey. The percentage among women in the same age bracket rose 15.9 points to 43.7 percent.

The shift appears to be related to the weak economy.

Prof. Kakuko Miyata of Meiji Gakuin University tells Yomiuri: "I suspect young people today are deeply concerned about their futures because of prolonged difficulty in finding jobs and the sluggish economy, so they may wish for the home to be a source of emotional support."

BI contributor Wolf Richter draws a similar conclusion:

Young people have grown up with this scenario, see it every day, know there is no longer a good exit from the debacle. It’s too late. The pile of debt is too big. Promises about job security and retirement are illusory. They work longer hours for less pay than their predecessors, don’t have enough money to move out from home, and consume practically everything they make.

What's most alarming this trend is how it could spread around the world.

Whether or not America is turning into Japan, it and all developed countries face structural employment crises and years of low growth. This is certainly an environment in which feminism could recede (or conversely in which men will get the short end of the stick).

Don't miss: 7 Women Share What They Wish They Knew At The Beginning Of Their Career > 

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Business Insider's Ultimate Gift Guide


Marissa Mayer Took ~80 Yahoo Execs To This Stunning Resort On Half Moon Bay For A Weekend (YHOO)


Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay

Yahoos have had it good since Marissa Mayer became CEO in July.

First came the free food, then the new smartphones, then new computers. 

And now, we're learning that, during the first weekend in December, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and COO Henrique De Castro hosted 80 Yahoo executives at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay isn't actually that far from Yahoo's Sunnyvale headquarters or San Francisco. It's between San Francisco and San Jose, all the way out on the coast.

But having been there for a round of golf once, I can tell you that it feels like a continent away. It feels like Scotland, England, and Ireland – in all the right ways. Like Downton Abbey on steroids.

But don't just believe me… 

There's the resort, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific ocean

Half Moon Bay is often foggy, but you can warm up by firepits

You can smell the saltwater there

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Chinese Multimillionaires Are Leaving In Droves


China communist party exhibit Weary of pollution, contaminated food and economic uncertainty, a third of Chinese multimillionaires worth at least $16 million (£10m) have "emigrated", while half are considering packing their bags, a new report has claimed.

The research, released this week by the influential Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, suggested Chinese entrepreneurs were heading overseas in an attempt to protect their assets, better educate their children and enjoy an improved quality of life.

The findings, published in China's 'Annual Report on Chinese International Migration 2012', were widely publicised in the country's state-media and came accompanied by stern warnings from senior academics about the potential consequences.

"Their departure will be a great loss for China," Wang Huiyao, one of the report's authors, told the Shanghai Daily, describing the exodus as "a great loss of talent." Xinhua said continued emigration was likely "to bring losses to the country in terms of assets and talents and complicate the development of its substantial economy."

Cui Yu, a 31-year-old mother interviewed by the China Daily, said: "I have discussed the plan with my husband and we have reached the conclusion that if we want to provide a better education and living environment with more career choices for our children, immigration is the best solution." The report chimes with findings released last year by the Bank of China and Hurun, the Shanghai-based publisher of a Chinese 'Rich List', which claimed over half of China's millionaires were considering or trying to emigrate. A previous study by China Merchants Bank found that 60 per cent of Chinese people worth at least $1.6 million were considering "investment immigration."

Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun's founder, said the findings were "a supersensitive topic at a political level" because of the implication that China's well-connected elites might not have faith in the country's political and economic future.

"I think it is a very significant political hot potato," he said, listing education, pollution and food safety as some of the explanations behind the trend.

But Hoogewerf urged caution, pointing out that many of those "emigrating" were simply seeking permanent residence overseas rather than ditching their Chinese passports altogether.

"If the capital goes with them you are potentially at risk of losing 50 per cent of the country's capital. But in practice it's not really going to be like that. Most of the entrepreneurs I know are not going to be giving up on China. They grew up in China, they are proud of it and are not turning their backs on their country at this stage."

Many were simply seeking "diversification of risk" in the "unlikely event there might be economic or political change," he added. "If you were a British businessman you wouldn't put all your eggs in the Sterling basket."

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How 'Posh Life Bling' Got Its Products In The Hands Of So Many Celebrities


khloe lamar

Tori Torres made a profit the first week her product hit eBay.

Within five years she landed her first celebrity client.

Now, eleven years after its launch, Posh Life Bling has Beyoncé, Jessica Alba, Paris Hilton and Eva Longoria on its clientele list.

Torres started the accessory company at home after having her first son because she wanted to make money but also be able to stay at home to raise him. Five years from its start, her company had its products in the hands of celebrities. 

How did she do it?

Keeping it simple

With downtime on her hands when her son was taking a nap, she began fiddling with designs for the outsides of razor phones.

She experimented with a few different materials before deciding to use Swarovski crystals, and said that she loves to make things beautiful and this helped her when making the phones.

“I make what I like and I still do to this day. I make what I like and people buy it,” Torres told us.

Perfect timing

When she began designing the phones in 2002, eBay had just launched and cell phones were just becoming popular. She was one of the first ones to decorate cell phones.

Torres realized she was on to something and decided to buy razor phones wholesale and in bulk. There were no cell phone cases at the time so she created her designs right on the phones.

Rapid execution

She designed quickly and put her phones on ebay right away.

“It caught on immediately. Immediately it was a hit,” Torres said.  “And before I knew it I was crazy busy, my husband would be blinging out phones. I taught him to do it and we did them until I got a handle on everything and got a website.”

After almost instantaneous success, Torres developed her own website to give her product the chance to gain momentum.

High quality standards

As her company grew and she sold more phones, Torres kept her standards of quality high which helped her gain the right kind of attention.

Steve Harvey and the American Music Awards noticed Torres and her company and invited her to two major events in 2007. At the Steve Harvey’s Hoodie Awards, Torres met her first celebrity client, Monique.

A few months later at the AMAs, she met Khloe Kardashian.

With just two celebrities to start, Torres used their names and networks to find more customers willing to pay the big bucks.

“If you take care of your  clients they definitely send more people and its a product that really does sell itself. So if they’re out and someone sees it, they want to know where they got it.” Torres said.  

“If they like you and they are happy with your service they are going to refer you so it changed my business in a major way. It opened me up to other products, other lines of products. These are people that can afford to spend $2,000 on a mirror to be crystaled. Or $2,000 on a cookie jar.”

SEE ALSO: Kate Upton's Latest Vogue Cover Is Missing Something... >

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: Gerard Depardieu Is Unloading This $65 Million Parisian Mansion And Moving To Belgium


depardieu house

French actor Gerard Depardieu caused a huge stir last week after it was reported that he was moving to Belgium, allegedly to avoid paying France's high taxes.

He even gave up his French passport after the country's prime minister called the move "pathetic," saying he had never used it anyway.

Now the actor has put his townhouse on the left bank of Paris on the market for $65.4 million, The Wall Street Journal reports. The home, which was built in 1820, has 20,000 square feet of living space and is listed as a historical monument, according to The WSJ.

French real estate agent Daniel Feau has the listing (via The Real Estalker).

Depardieu's Paris mansion is located in the swanky 6th arrondisement of Paris.

It was built nearly two centuries ago, but still has a modern interior.

It has nearly 20,000 square feet of living space and 10 bedrooms.

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Meet The Most Spoiled Kids In The World


suri cruise

Most kids would be thrilled by a trip to Disney World.

But for Suri Cruise a trip to the Magic Kingdom isn't complete without a night in the invitation-only suite at Cinderella's Castle.

And she isn't even the most spoiled kid on this list.

Petra and Tamara Ecclestone, daughters of Formula One racing honcho Bernie Ecclestone

Petra and Tamara, the gorgeous and pampered offspring of Bernie Ecclestone, are known for their extravagant spending on everything from handbags to real estate Petra famously bought an $85 million mansion in L.A. last year.

The daughters, ages 23 and 28, reportedly have access to their father's $4.8 billion-dollar trust, and while Bernie lets them make spending decisions on their own, he hasn't been happy with how they've squandered their inheritance.

"The kids have had access to the money," Ecclestone told The Telegraph last year. "The idea was that they'd buy super-quality property, property that would be long term, for their kids and everything else. Didn't happen. They haven't done that. So they've had access to money which they've spent."

Suri Cruise, daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes

Suri has been making tabloid covers since she was born, more often than not for the attention her famous parents lavish on her.

This summer when Tom whisked Suri off to Disney World, the six-year-old stayed in Cinderella's Castle Suite  an apartment originally designed for the Walt Disney family in the Magic Kingdom that cannot actually be booked and is normally reserved for special events, according to People.

It's been reported that Suri's wardrobe is worth $3 million and includes coveted items such as a $2,140 Dolce & Gabbana red trench coat and a rack of dresses from designers like Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Burberry and Juicy Couture. 

But exclusive vacations and high-end clothes aren't the only costly things in Suri's life. Mail Online recently reported that Suri's mom is planning to surprise her daughter with an eight foot, $24,000 Grand Victorian Playhouse for Christmas which comes equipped with running water, electricity, and extensive landscaping.

Valentina Paloma Pinault, daughter of Salma Hayek and François-Henri Pinault

Five-year-old Valentina is already attending art galas in Italy, vacationing in St. Barts, and working red carpet premieres. But that's what's expected when you're the daughter of a famous movie star and a luxury goods tycoon.

The pint-sized diva is said to be full of personality and brains, just like her parents, Salma Hayek and François-Henri Pinault. She's often caught sticking her tongue out to paparazzi and can speak three languages, English, Spanish, and French.

Her father spends $50,000 a month for a $12 million Los Angeles estate held in trust in Valentina's name, according to Hollywood Life.

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Fork-Knife Chopsticks For Every Kind Of Take-Out Dinner


These are the Fork-Knife Chopsticks from Uncommon Goods.

Why We Love Them: The infamous spork has a cousin in these Fork-Knife Chopsticks. Use the utensils as an ordinary fork and knife, or interlock them to create a pair of handy chopsticks with a rubberized grip.

The Fork-Knife Chopsticks are dishwater safe, and made from reusable plastic. They're reasonably cheap, so buy a few pairs to keep around the office or at home so you're never short on utensils once your take-out arrives.

Fork-Knife Chopsticks


Where To Buy: Available through Uncommon Goods.

Cost: $10.

Want to nominate a cool product for Stuff We Love? Send an email to Megan Willett at mwillett@businessinsider.com with "Stuff We Love" in the subject line.

DON'T MISS:  The Shot Flask Is Your New Drinking Accessory

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