Sunday April 26, 2015 10:08
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Thursday, 14 February 2013 12:57 | Author: Ian Brodie

SA sports star arrested after death of girlfriend

One of South Africa's most popular sports stars, the runner Oscar Pistorius, appears to have mistakenly killed his model girlfriend in the early hours of this morning at his residence in Pretoria. According to initial reports by the daily Beeld, the 26 year-old athlete believed his model girlfriend was a thief who had broken into his home…

A police spokesperson told the online edition of the Afrikaans language newspaper that Pistorius's girlfriend, the model Reeva Steenkamp, 30, was hit by four bullets in the head and arm. She died on the spot. Oscar Pistorius, who has had both legs amputated, and is nicknamed The Blade Runner, has competed in both the Olympics and Paralympics.

 

PHOTO: Reeva Steenkamp in a publicity photograph for Sivana Diamonds

Article tags: reeva steenkamp oscar pistorius

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Monaco Paws...

Ever-Ready, Ever-Bright

The sun is out, the flowers are in bloom and Monaco Paws is back on the street...

Irina Peterson and her Miniature Pinscher, Ever, are rarely apart.  This week Monaco Paws found them enjoying a lovely afternoon outside the new Monaco Yacht Club.

Do you find Monaco to be very dog-friendly?
It opens a new universe.  I had lived in Monaco for 17 years before I got Ever and thought I knew a lot of people.  Since having him the number of people I know has doubled.

Is it easy to keep Ever with you all day?
Yes, he comes to the office with me everyday and has a bed there where he rests quietly while I work. He hates to be alone, but he is not a "bag-dog"; he won't stay in a bag.  He feels a little offended to be put in a bag.

How has Ever affected your life?
He has changed my life for the better.  I have learned so much.  Dogs just help you to be 100 percent in the present.  There is no dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.  He is my dog, but I also feel like I am his human and therefore responsible for his happiness and well-being.  It is a mutual and reciprocal relationship.

What do you like about Miniature Pinschers?
They have lots of personality, I love their looks and they are very adaptable.  They can be very active and athletic, but also calm and affectionate.  He is friends with everyone.  He likes kids and all animals; cats, dogs, rabbits and even turtles.

Is it an intelligent breed?  He is very smart and a little cheeky.  I can't fool him more than twice.  He had some formal training and is very well-mannered.  He only barks if there is trouble.  Once I found him barking loudly at a cupboard and when I opened it, I saw a small electrical fire had started.

Pinschers often have their ears and tails clipped, why didn't you do that with Ever?
I insisted that he remain in his natural state.  Plus he talks to me so much through his ears and tail.  I can tell what he is thinking by the position of his ears and judge his mood by his tail.

Ever looks like a very sporty dog.  Does he need a lot of exercise?
He really appreciates exercise.  On the weekends he runs 10K with my running club and me. Ever has also participated three times in the charity event, No Finish Line.  This year he completed 75 kilometres.

Have you bred Ever?
He recently became a father for the first time!  The neighbour of a friend also has a beautiful Miniature Pinscher and they met in a garden in Nice and just played and got on so well.  Two adorable puppies were born last August.

Do you think you will continue to breed Ever?
Well, if he falls in love again, I won't prevent it.


Monaco Paws is a collaboration between writer Siri Trang Khalsa and photographer Kaidi-Katariin Aksiim, artofaneyeblog.com     Please feel free to get in touch at: monacopaws@gmail.com

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An expansive Roberto Giorgi, head of Fraser Yachts, in London for the inaugural London Yacht, Jet & Prestige Car Show. Please see related story in the main news section, left.  PHOTO: Joe McCarthy

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Easter in Monaco...

The children of St. Paul's Church in Monte-Carlo enthusiastically lit the traditional Easter candle on Sunday. Also very popular was the annual Easter egg hunt following the service led by Father Walter Raymond.  PHOTO: Simon Wynne

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Monaco Life Easter Appeal...

The five-year-old Syrian Civil War has so far claimed more than 220,000 lives, including an estimated 10,000 children, a humanitarian disaster that has been devastatingly illustrated by this photo of a four year-old girl refugee whose father was killed in 2012 and who responded by 'surrendering' when the photographer pointed his camera.

Millions of people have been displaced by the conflict, with more than 12 million people - including five million children - still in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. A bitter winter took the lives of untold thousands.

The image emerged as the Syrian government announced plans to import 150,000 tonnes of wheat for its starving population - just weeks after saying it had no need to do so.

The United Nations has said it does not have enough money to help all children like Adi Hudea. Readers can make a donation directly to the UNHCR by following this link: http://donate.unhcr.org/international/syria

SOURCES: Include the UK’s Daily Mail, Please follow this link to read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3019198/Heartbreaking-moment-four-year-old-Syrian-girl-surrendered-photographer-pointed-camera-assumed-gun.html#ixzz3WE5JVqNq

PHOTO: Osman Sagirli

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Taking to the air... Although the 2014 UIM annual photographic competition saw a slight decline in the number of entries in each category, the overall standard of submissions was much higher than previous years even with the absence of a few expected entrants…

“I really see this as a positive step forward and hope that all you photographers are aiming to improve with every shot you take? Photography is no longer an expensive hobby, and UIM events present some of the most exciting, high adrenaline sports which still allow close access to machines and drivers during events, so pick up your cameras, visit a UIM event and enjoy two great things at the same time - photography and powerboat racing,” said James Wright, Judging Panel Chairman.

“As with all forms of competition, you have to be in it to win it and you can only beat the competitors who are there! So many previous entrants have narrowly missed out on prizes with fierce competition and with very little to choose between pictures.

"The judging panel gives each and every image a great deal of consideration in a number of specific areas – I only wish we had time for personal critique of each shot.”

UIM, the International Powerboating Federation, is based in Monaco. MORE INFO: www.uimpowerboating.com

PHOTO: Alffian Bin Kadri of the team Malaysia at the UIM Nations Cup World Series, Grand Prix of Qatar, Doha, March 11, 2014, captured by Vittorio Ubertone: Nikon D300. Focal length: 300mm. Aperture: F. 8. Shutter speed: 1/1000. ISO: 640.

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MONACO CHARITIES: Monaco charity Peace and Sport has launched its #WhiteCard campaign on social media to mark the second annual Internal Sporting Day in Aid of Peace, which takes place on April 6. The objective is to show solidarity with the main supporters of the idea that sport can change the world and make it a better place…

Everyone can take part, by taking a selfie or a photo of a group holding a ‘white card’ and posting it on Facebook with - “Like me, post your #WhiteCard to Play your Peace on April6 @peaceandsport #IDSDP2015 !” or on Twitter with the comment “Like me, post your #WhiteCard to Play your Peace on April6 @peaceandsport #IDSDP2015 !”

Joël Bouzou, Président and Founder of Peace and Sport, said: The sixth of April offers Peace and Sport the opportunity to become more widely known. .. More people are joining us, knowing that sport can make the difference.”

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The speakers during the session on Changing Patterns of HNW Expenditure at the Global High Net Worth 2015 conference in Monaco were the head of Fraser Yachts, Roberto Giorgi, Yolande Barnes, Head of World Research at Savills, and Mark Armstrong, who heads the Monaco office of Sotheby's.  Ian Brodie

Sunday, 22 March 2015 8:00

 

MONACO FOODIE:

Back to Basics

The great and recently late poet Philip Levine bemoaned that poetry had become “institutionalized and neutralized” and that poets “should have turned and lived with animals”. I bemoan food in the same way. We have institutionalized our food sources and neutralized their health benefits with toxins and chemicals. And we no longer live with animals.

My farmhouse in Southern France has an original mangeoir in the kitchen where the animals grazed in centuries gone by. Friends coo over how quaint this manger is. Yet it also reminds me of a simple lifestyle that has been lost forever. What used to be a vital element of the household economy is now merely a receptacle for my gleaming inox pots and pans. Modern-day sophistication has rendered us into Marie Antoinette playing the pretty spectacle of ersatz farmhouse simplicity. And our meat comes plastic-wrapped.

Our elongated and chemically-infused food supply chain is one of our biggest 21st-century food challenges. Take salad for example. Phytonutrient-rich lettuce leaves, fresh from your organic vegetable garden have little in common with their plastic-bagged, supermarket counterparts. ‘Ready-to-eat’ bagged lettuce tends to have been covered in pesticides, then washed in chlorinated water (that’s more concentrated than your local municipal pool in order to ward off the serious risk of bacterial infections such as cryptosporidium, listeria and salmonella) and bagged, before travelling hundreds of miles to a supermarket and finally weeks later to your plate.

I miss simplicity, like I miss Levine. Luckily Monaco-based nutrition gurus Susan Tomassini and Naomi Buff have come to the rescue in promoting healthy dining across the principality. This month sees them helping various Monegasque restaurants to revolutionize their culinary approaches from food sourcing to nutrient-rich dishes.

Having flown all the way to New York to study at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Naomi Buff (a.k.a. Monaco’s queen of smoothies) is now working with chefs at the Monaco Restaurant Group (whose restaurants include Bouchon, Beef Bar, Mozza, Avenue 31 and La Saliére among others, http://www.mrg.mc) on how to maximize nutritional benefits in the food they serve. Grains such as quinoa are soaked overnight in kombu seaweed so that they sprout before cooking. You can be one of the first to taste Naomi’s gluten-free and refined-sugar-free dishes at selected MRG restaurants or you can catch one of her new workshops for yummy mummies at the Munchkins Club (www.mcmunchkinsclub.com).

Hot off the press also comes the news that knowledgeable nutritionist Susan Tomassini and her Clever Kitchen partner Melanie Gulliver have teamed up with Stars ‘N’ Bars (http://www.starsnbars.com). With Clever Kitchen-designed healthy dishes planned for Stars ‘N’ Bars’ new menu launch in April, this is the latest step in the iconic restaurant’s dramatic turnaround in bringing its menu up-to-date with healthy food trends following my December 2014 food column. With a BSc in nutrition from London’s BCNH, Susan also offers one-on-one personal consultations and online nutritional solutions (http://theclever.kitchen).

PHOTO: Naomi’s Bouchon Bowl   Ingrid Parys, Monaco Restaurant Group

To read earlier Monaco Foodie columns: http://www.monacolife.net/?action=show&id=4014

Louise Simpson is a food and travel writer based in Monaco. Since studying French literature at Cambridge University, Louise has written for The FT, The Times, Condé Nast and The Independent in the UK and for Zagat and Google in the US. She also publishes travel books with Frommer’s: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Louise-Simpson/e/B0034OTN6Q/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1373370624&sr=8-2.

 

Thursday, 12 March 2015 0:10

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Sunday, 15 February 2015 7:00

Letters to the Editor

Israel and the Jews

Dear Editor,
 
I have not read such claptrap in a long while as that written recently in your publication by Professor Ben-Meir.  Mr Netanyahu was simply stating that Jews would be welcomed in Israel “with open arms” in response to the well understood concerns of many Jews regarding their safety in France.  He did not “call for Jews to immigrate to Israel” as he claims.
 
Furthermore, the professor is in denial if he thinks “Mr Netanyahu was rudely [italics added] suggesting that they [the Jews] are no longer safe in France”.  If he does not know any French Jews, the French emigration statistics should tell him the story.
 
I would also strongly dispute his assertion that: “Netanyahu must accept the fact that the occupation is one of the main causes (but not the source) behind the recent rise of anti-Semitism.”  Why so?  Why is Netanyahu responsible for the bigotry in France?  And why should European Jews accept the consequences for the foreign policy decisions of foreign state.  We would never say that Hindus should accept the consequences of the Indian foreign policy, Buddhas of Tibetian policy, Muslims of Indonesian policy or Shintus of Japanese foreign policy.  Many Jews have very little to do with Israel; they were born and raised in Europe, are European nationals and consider Europe to be their home.
 
Furthermore, and I hesitate to wade into this area of his commentary, “the occupation”, as he terms it, should be viewed in the context of an uneasy truce between the Palestinians and Israelis.  He seems to forget that these territories are occupied as a consequence of the 1967 and 1973 wars.  Unlike the Jordanians and Egyptians, who have accepted Israel’s right to exist and have settled their territorial disputes, the Syrians and Palestinians have not.  Thus, like North and South Korea (nobody calls this “an occupation”), they remain at war albeit under a truce.  Settle the war, then the territory.
 
Blaming anti-Semitism in Europe on the situation is the Middle East is simply a cop-out.
 
Clyde Johnston

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Offensive media

Dear Ed,

I think Kristi Prenn missed the point of Jeff Daniels' challenging opinion piece on the Paris disaster. No one, yourself included, could condone these barbaric murders nor feel that they were in anyway justified. I did not feel this was the point of the message.

As is too often the case the world was immediately influenced by an offended media who sycophantically turned this appalling tragedy into something they could portray as an attack on free speech.Thereby defending their right to continue to be offensive to whosoever they please.

Nick Harley

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Jeff is not a journalist

Sir: ‘Jeff Daniels’ is not a journalist.  ‘Jeff Daniels’ is an apologist for evil.

There is no justification for the murder of innocent people, yet ‘Jeff Daniels’ seeks to justify the appalling murders of fellow human beings, to insinuate that the satirists deserved to be murdered because their work was offensive to Muslims (and himself) and that Charlie Hebdo was anti-Muslim. ‘Jeff Daniels’ mocks the gatherings across France and the world who united in Je suis Charlie marches to mourn for and to declare their abhorrence of the murders of innocent people, killed for being journalists or in the case of the Vincennes deli, for being Jews.

This article is crass and repulsive nonsense.  It is wickedness justifying itself with pretentious pomposity and seeming piousness.

JE SUIS CHARLIE

Kristi Prenn

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'Breath of fresh air'

Dear Sir,

Thank you for publishing Louise Simpson's review of Monaco restaurants. It was about time that someone drew attention to the lousy service and inadequate food in our little village. Free and independent press is a breath of fresh air for us Monaco residents, whose usual source of local information is what passes for journalism in Monaco Matin.  I see the very outrage over Ms Simpson's column to be a direct result of our lack of exposure to honest criticism in Monegasque media.

There are some harsh words in Ms Simpson's article but they are based on facts that we all recognise and are no worse than what Monaco residents discuss in private. They will hopefully inspire these establishments to make some changes. I look forward to reading about her day in the kitchen of Stars'N'Bars, and sincerely hope that its management will take the opportunity to listen to her suggestions. I, for one, would welcome variety in starters and salads, which have remained virtually unchanged at least in the past 15 years that I have been living in Monaco.

Yours sincerely,

Zeynep Castel-branco

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'Refreshing'

Dear Editor,

It is so refreshing to read local Louise Simpson's honest review of restaurants in Monaco. TripAdvisor is a place I often turn to to get a general idea of restaurants, but this is the first time I have ever read an honest review by a local, which provides a completely different perspective for those of us living in the Principality.

It seems to have inspired a great deal of discussion, which is precisely the point of a quality review: to inspire people, or perhaps discourage them yes, but first and foremost to provide a personal perspective, to which everyone is entitled. Thank you so much for sharing. Bravo.

Lisa af Rosenborg

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Follow-up awaited

Dear Editor,
 
I was impressed to see Stars n’ Bars’ response to the “Kitchen Nightmares” column - an invitation to spend the day in the kitchen and see how food is prepared – great reply!  I look forward to the follow-up article on Stars n’ Bars…

Tracy Rohan, Monaco

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ACM is a private club

Dear Sir,
 
I would like to add a comment -so far not addressed- about Monaco’s Automobile Club of which I have been a member for many years. If we are going to “name and shame” maybe we should ask ourselves by what right we are doing so. The clue is in the name: the Automobile Club.

Apart from the excellent food (try getting kidneys like that elsewhere in Monaco, and yes they have cream with them if you ask nicely) and what must be the most sublimely best group of waiters on the Riviera (many of whom have been there for years), a piano bar with music you might want to listen to (and I am a Rock fan so they must be doing something right), there is its best feature: their wine list.

Small but perfectly formed, you can buy a great Burgundy, or a Bordeaux if you must, without having to sell your Ferrari to afford it, indeed for less than a poor wine from the Languedoc sold in some other places in Monaco. It is the rip off in wine prices in some restaurants which beats me; I won’t pay them. But you can afford to have a great bottle of wine at the Automobile Club. People who have lived in Monaco for a long time know these things. The Automobile Club is, all round, the best thing we have got in terms of a dinner out.

I suppose if you are not a member and you are lucky enough to get invited to eat at the Club by a member you will not know this.

But to visit what is a Private Club you have to be a member or accompanied by a member to go there. The members of the Automobile Club would prefer to mix with people who appreciate the Club. Who invites a restaurant critic to a Private Club, and for what reason does a restaurant critic consider she should comment on anything in this private space? This is not a restaurant open to the public. Did the management of the Club invite her to make comments? I think we should be told why a member of the public is opining on our Private Club’s restaurant.

It is solely a matter for the members to judge what they think of their Club restaurant  which, incidentally, is about a lot more than the food on your plate. If a member has any comment to make about his Club he will take it up with the Committee, not a news service. For these reasons might I suggest we ignore what the Club’s critic says, about anything, and give the Club back to its members’ views for it is nobody else’s place to opine.   
 
Yours faithfully, William Easun

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Overpriced and unwelcoming

Dear Ian,
 
I cannot agree more with Louise Simpson, perhaps not with all her criticism of each restaurant but the way she described the overpriced restaurants like Saliere, Avenue 31, makes sense. I can even add the Beefbar where they practise the same attitude.

It is a disgrace the way you are treated in Saliere, you do not even get a proper bill, in the evening they treat you as a tourist, so neglected and not taken seriously. During dinner in the Beefbar they wait as long as possible with the advertised menu in order to force you to the ridiculously priced standard menu.

It is good there are other restaurants like Le Bouchon and Mozza, where they understand the word "guest", joined with reasonably priced menus and daily-changing specialities, this at least avoids us driving to Italy on a weekly basis to enjoy good food and normal prices.
 
Best regards,
 
Jan Dingenouts

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Dear Sir,
 
Further to Annette Anderson’s (of Stars N’ Bars) letter to you published (below) in Monaco Life, may I also express my disagreement with Louise Simpson’s comments on certain restaurants.
 
Stars N’ Bars serves Tex-Mex food and does it well, Tex-Mex is never going to be a gastronomic delight but the produce is fresh and the service is generally far better than most ‘high class” establishments. There is no guilt to be attached to serving good hamburgers made with real beef, fast food enterprises have hi-jacked the hamburger and given it a bad name. The ones served at Stars N’ Bars are the best I have tasted anywhere over the last 30 years or so.
 
I consider the Monte Carlo Country Club restaurant to be one of the best in Monaco for quality/value for money with a limited but well balanced menu, again with fresh produce very well cooked and presented. Every meal I have had there has been a delight.
 
The Automobile Club is also a top rate and reasonably priced restaurant.
 
I agree with Ms Simpson that restaurants in Monaco are generally overpriced and at best mediocre with the service often very poor but I also agree with Ms Anderson that this looks like “clever text for the sake of being published”.
 
Rents are very high in Monaco which explains the prices but there is no excuse for failings in produce, cuisine and service.
 
Perhaps Ms Simpson should turn her attention to the so called ‘top” restaurants which are really a disgrace and reflect badly on the Principality.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
David Solomon

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Unfair review

We do not know when Louise Simpson last ate at the Automobile Club but her account certainly bears no resemblance to our own experiences. As members of many years’ standing, we lunch and dine there frequently and find the daily-changing menus and ingredients to be of the highest quality whilst, at the same time, tasty and healthy. There is even a “menu allegé” every day, to which cream and other less than healthy “70s” products are most definitely strangers! The salade d’haricots verts and chicken breast, followed by grilled salmon with leeks last Friday were outstanding examples of Chef Olivier Ribaute’s extremely attractive  and consistent cuisine which never fails to please and impress – please take a new look, Louise!
 
Vivienne H Taylor and Richard Hale, Monaco

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Criticism 'not valid'

Dear Editor

We were disappointed to read your "Monaco Foodie" remarks about our restaurant and the "tasteless freezer to microwave tat". We try to be open to valid criticism ....we certainly are not perfect....and we act on it.  In fact we give customers a card with a direct link to Trip Advisor to "grade" their meal and give us feedback.  But, we have to admit, it's soul- killing to see food "critics" who enjoy writing clever text for the sake of being "published".

Our cooks arrive at 7 a.m each  day and prepare freshly delivered vegetables, meats and ingredients to create about 500 meals during a non stop food service of 12 hours. (Yes, we are guilty of serving burgers but the meat is 100% organic. ). Has your Monaco Foodie actually ever been in a kitchen?  Probably not, but we would like to invite her to spend a day with the cooks that she has so thoughtlessly belittled. Heck, we'll even share our recipes with you, Louise.  You can roll the chicken filet in the flour, bread crumbs and egg wash to make our chicken fingers.  

We are very sorry that Miss Simpson dislikes the restaurant but we do thank the thousands of regular customers, especially the families, who often come daily and who have supported us for more than 20 years.  (The editor of this newsletter, MonacoToday, in fact, and his family are customers.). Sorry to take this personally but I know the people who work hard everyday to serve our customers and they deserve a more professional review.

Annette Anderson
Manager

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CAN BE SENT TO monacotoday@gmail.com. Please include a telephone number.

Previous letters can be found at MORE

Monaco Events, Announcements

YEAR OF RUSSIA: The following is a list of the “2015 – the Year of Russia in Monaco” events taking place next week:

Thursday 23 April at 7 p.m. – Yacht Club de Monaco:
Russian Easter Grand Gala organised by the European Association of St Vladimir in aid of the Saint Mary Magdalene Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg and the Menton Orthodox Church.
A virtual voyage through Eternal Russia, including contributions from Yuri Bashmet, followed by a performance by Alexandra Iosifidi and Ivan Sitnikov, ballet dancers from the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. Russian chant and dance show with the Ivouchki gypsy orchestra. Information: +377 93 10 63 00 and 06 99 89 85 63 – Email: saint.vladimir@monaco.mc or associationsaintvladimir@gmail.com

Thursday 23 April – Hôtel de Paris – Salle Empire (invitation only) "Hommage to the Grimaldis" Russian season: Shared culture and history Opera evening with artists from the Mariinsky Theatre
Information: +377 98 06 30 00

Friday 24 April (Gala), Tuesday 28 April at 8 p.m, and Sunday 26 April at 3 p.m. – Monte-Carlo Opera – Salle Garnier: 
"Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District" by Dmitri Shostakovich, with Nikolai Putilin, Ludovit Ludha, Nicola Beller Carbone, Misha Didyk, Carole Wilson, Alexander Kravets, Grigory Soloviov, Yuri Kissin, Nikita Storojev, Alexander Teliga, Vadim Zaplechny, Mairam Sokolova, the Choir of the Monte-Carlo Opera and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Jacques Lacombe, organised by the Monte-Carlo Opera.

Until 30 September, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Naval Museum – Fontvieille Exhibition of model Russian ships from the collection of Professor Claude Pallanca: “The Russian Navy from Peter the Great to the present day” 
Information: +377 92 05 28 48
Find out the latest news about “2015 – the Year of Russia in Monaco” on the event’s website: www.monacorussie2015.com

BAM events in May: Please  note that the  next Friday Friendship Club  will be on Friday May 8 at St Paul's Church Library  between 15:00 and 17:00.  The BAM FFC is for members to meet up for afternoon tea twice a month.  Entrance is free and is also a great opportunity to meet up with old friends or to make some new ones. Members can chat and read magazines, exchange books  (new titles  added every time!), play cards/games or help with the ongoing jigsaw while enjoying complimentary tea, coffee and delicious homemade cakes. We now have an extensive DVD lending library with new titles coming in every week - help us to increase our ever-growing selection and bring along some DVDs. Also books and magazines are always welcome. 

BAM events in May: May is a month for gardens, roses and all things beautiful… so the events team have organised two ‘garden’ events in May. The first event is on Wednesday, May 13. Mr Restellini from the Department of Urbanism will give us a guided tour around the newly enlarged Princesse Grace Rose Garden, in Fontvieille starting at 14.15. We will end the afternoon with tea at the Columbus Hotel (opposite) about 16:00.  Price for Members  15€ and for non-members 20€.

The second event on Friday May 15 is a day out in the country visiting two gardens.  The first garden belongs to our gardening enthusiast, Joanna Millar in Tourettes-sur-Loup. Joanna will guide us through her beautiful garden in the morning  after which we and will have time to chat and ask questions over a drink. This will be followed with a light lunch in a nearby typically Provencal restaurant.  After lunch, we will visit another garden full of wonderful plants  (approximately 20 minutes drive away) in the Grasse region now owned by Valerie de Courcel, a passionate gardener and artist.  Valerie will guide us through her magical garden.  This  was the first house of author Winifred Fortescue where she wrote 'Perfume from Provence' - which has just been re-issued in paperback.  Price for members 45 euros 55 euros for non-members.  Booking forms can be found on the BAM website:  www.bam-monaco.org.  In order to avoid disappointment, book early.  Booking in advance is essential for both these events.

‘ANDY WARHOL: The exhibition “Andy Warhol” continues at the Galerie Adriano Ribolzi (Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 - 12:00 and 15:00 until 18:00). See also display ad at www.monacolife.net

Princess Grace Irish Library: Tuesday April 21, at 19:30. Why did the Irish experience of emigration, so prevalent in the post war period, feature so rarely in the literature of the time? A Talk and Readings from ‘Home from England’ by James Ryan. The Ireland Fund of Monaco Academic-in-Residence at the Princess Grace Irish Library from 20 April to 15 May 2015, Director of the Creative Writing Programme, School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin. Info and reservations: pgbooks@monaco.mc

Listings in Events & Announcements are free for non-profit associations, charged for commercial events and entities. To place listing email monacotoday@gmail.com

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TENNIS: MONDAY, APRIL 13- The Rolex Masters Tennis Tournament started on Sunday at the Monte-Carlo Country Club and will continue until next Sunday, April 19.

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Monte-Carlo Diary

Sunday, March 1

A tale of half a pizza

It’s been a very busy week, and most of the time I’ve had a banana for lunch. But I do remember leaving half a pizza in the fridge. News of the killing of Boris Nemtsov put me off my food altogether, not because of its shock value but because it confirms everything I know and suspect about Vladimir Putin, and for those readers who might be tempted to pick up their quills and ask “what has this got to do with Monaco?" let me say that if matters get very much worse Europe could soon be little more than radioactive dust, including what's left of dear old Monte-Carlo and even Fontvieille.

Now the Brits are taking notice. After the annexation of Crimea and the stealthy invasion of eastern Ukraine they started by refusing to go to the Bolshoi Ballet, believing that this outright show of disapproval might force a change of mind in the Kremlin.

The Hansel and Gretel of European diplomacy have also been horribly naive, as if peace talks in Minsk or anywhere else would make any real difference. The Germans can be excused, perhaps, for being a little bit shy about saying anything at all about the affairs of another country following the unpleasantness of 1939-1945, while Hollande follows big sister.

But I had hoped for more from the Brits. A couple of weeks ago someone in Whitehall said that the UK had been caught napping by the Kremlin because of a lack of qualified foreign policy analysts while another idiot said this was because of a lack of money. Such a claim beggars belief and drives me to the use of an exclamation mark!

Anyone who has spent more than two weeks east of the Elbe knows more about Russian history than Dave old-Etonian Cameron, and if the British government needs a think-tank to tell it what’s going on this is a very sad and a very serious condemnation of the knowledge, wits and understanding of the men and women who supposedly lead what was once a great nation.

My half-pizza has disappeared. Either I ate it or it left the fridge of its own accord.
 

Jeff Daniels

The Jeff Daniels column is published in the interests of editorial diversity, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the publishers.

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Monte-Carlo Diary

Pushed to the Max

SATURDAY, JUNE 21: There will always be tensions when a large crowd of people are crammed into small spaces, especially when they take an instant dislike to each other or harbour long-term differences. I am not talking about the long-running opening ceremony of the splendid new Monaco Yacht Club attended by le tout Monaco - a splendid affair - but the lingering impact of the lengthy and tedious French rail strike.

Tasked with taking my youngest son to Nice for a Saturday rendez-vous with a schoolmate, I squeezed with him onto the 16:43 from Monaco - delayed for 18 minutes in Menton while the frazzled French border police sifted out the usual suspects, young Somalian males who, having crossed the inhospitable Sahara, are trying in considerable numbers to make their way to the economic paradise that is France. Or possibly the UK.

Most people were eminently sensible and moved down the train to occupy every available space to allow yet more frazzled and luggage-laden bemused first-and-last-time tourists onto the only TER regional express to visit Monaco for the previous three hours.
Someone sitting down said something to me. I assumed he was offering me a space to sit. I bent down to hear better. Translated from the French, what he said was: “Can you get your arse out of my face!”

To say I was astonished hardly covers it. A number of responses flashed through my hot head: “I am surprised you are bothered about my arse, since it resembles so closely your face,” was the most polite. I wanted physically to strangle him, and since I was standing up and he was sitting down I sure as hell had a good shot at it.

My nine year-old restrained me. “He’s an idiot Dad, don’t take any notice,” he said in a French that can only be described as impeccable. At the next available jolt in the tracks he managed to more or less fall onto the idiot’s mobile phone he was holding high in the air while playing what looked like patience, and make it look like an accident.

You can mess with me, but you can’t mess with Max.

Jeff Daniels

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