Visionaire-Y McQueen, Aggy’s Sister Act, And More…

The newest McQueen tribute comes courtesy of the Dean-Gan-Kaliardos trifecta, who are dedicating the next issue ofVisionaire—out in June, with a preview on www.visionaireworld.com today—to the late designer. Expect real wildflowers, a case designed by the McQueen studio, and a roll call of fashion’s best and brightest contributors: Klein, Sorrenti, Meisel, Inez and Vinoodh, Sims, Testino, and (of course) Gaga.

After a brief (and, according to Google, accidental) shutdown yesterday, Tavi Gevinson’s blog is up and running once again. Thank goodness for that—without it, what reason would her legions of pre-teen admirers have to cut gym class?

Meet nutria, the giant, Louisiana-based water rat whose fur is showing up in designer collections from Billy Reid to Gilles Mendel. Or, if you’ve got a sensitive stomach, don’t.

Aggy Deyn’s little sister designs tees (pictured); Aggy wears tees; tees cause minor sensation; Uniqlo to sell tees. It’s just about the oldest story in the fashion world.

Read more...

Visionaire-Y McQueen, Aggy’s Sister Act, And More…

The newest McQueen tribute comes courtesy of the Dean-Gan-Kaliardos trifecta, who are dedicating the next issue ofVisionaire—out in June, with a preview on www.visionaireworld.com today—to the late designer. Expect real wildflowers, a case designed by the McQueen studio, and a roll call of fashion’s best and brightest contributors: Klein, Sorrenti, Meisel, Inez and Vinoodh, Sims, Testino, and (of course) Gaga.

After a brief (and, according to Google, accidental) shutdown yesterday, Tavi Gevinson’s blog is up and running once again. Thank goodness for that—without it, what reason would her legions of pre-teen admirers have to cut gym class?

Meet nutria, the giant, Louisiana-based water rat whose fur is showing up in designer collections from Billy Reid to Gilles Mendel. Or, if you’ve got a sensitive stomach, don’t.

Aggy Deyn’s little sister designs tees (pictured); Aggy wears tees; tees cause minor sensation; Uniqlo to sell tees. It’s just about the oldest story in the fashion world.

Read more...

Madonna’s Favorite Photog Talks Shop

Tom Munro’s new book is chock-full of celebrity portraits: Jennifer Lopez, Dustin Hoffman, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Johnny Depp, Ashton Kutcher. But it’s Madonna that he seems most smitten with: Madge is on the cover, scattered throughout the book, and even wrote the foreword. Her poetic summation of the photographer’s art? “To have your picture taken by Tom Munro / Is kind of like smoking a bubblegum cigarette. / You can strike a pose, look cool / Get all of the sweetness, / And not suffer any side effects.” Hey, works for us. Munro spoke to Style.com about the fame, the faces, and photos—and a very special nose-off (read on, trust us).
Tom Munro is available atwww.amazon.com.

I guess the first thing to talk about is how you became photographer. When did you get your first camera, and when did you realize this would be a career?
I was in my mid-twenties. I spent a year traveling through Asia and Australia with an old Leica. Never mind I hardly knew the difference between an aperture and a shutter speed, but I took some pictures to document the trip. When I returned to England I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I enrolled in an art foundation course and took a few classes on photography. That’s when I began to seriously think of it as a real profession.

Well, it worked: Look at this book! Why did you choose to do a book now, and how did you choose these particular images?
Initially I was thinking of doing an exhibition to raise money for an African charity, but as I looked through my archive I thought to myself, “There’s a book here.” Moët & Chandon generously made that become a reality. The editing process was easy as the subjects are all iconic; what is interesting to me is that the book represents a moment in time and, given the subject matter, will hopefully stand the test of time. I hope it becomes more interesting as time passes.

Getting Madonna to write your introduction is pretty major. What is it like to work with her? When did you meet, and how did you become such close collaborators?
I first met Madonna on an editorial shoot for Elle. I think Madonna was keen to work with me as I had worked with her stylist Arianne Phillips before, and my ex-boss Steven Meisel put in a good word for me. Working with Madonna is really inspiring and a privilege. It’s rare to work with someone who is so driven, who brings so much to the creative process. After the shoot, Madonna asked if I would be interested in collaborating on her music video “Give It to Me.” This was my first introduction to film and I jumped at the opportunity. We did another video, “Die Another Day,” and I shot the tour book for Sticky and Sweet.

Also I had been involved with a Charity in Kenya called MEAK (Medical and Education Aid for Kenya) and knew of Madonna’s charity work in Malawi, so I asked Madonna if I could tag along on one of her visits to Africa. What she is doing there is quite extensive. It was a wonderful and moving experience to go with her, so I asked Madonna if I could list her charity as one of the beneficiaries of the book, along with MEAK.


Beyond Madonna, the rest of the book is a Hollywood who’s who: Beyoncé, Leonardo, Tom Cruise, and even Lady Gaga. Do you have a routine for preparing, meeting, and then shooting these well-known faces? Do you, like, Google them or talk on the phone before they show up?
I’ve been very fortunate to collaborate with these kinds of people. In cases like Leo, Tom, Justin [Timberlake], Keanu, and Madonna, I’ve worked with them repeatedly, so there’s a mutual understanding. There are times when I have no communication prior to the shoot—Lady Gaga for example. Sometimes there are conversations: I remember Janet Jackson calling me last August while I was vacationing on my farm in the Catskills. It was a little surreal to talk to her still covered in dirt and having just jumped off a tractor—[and] only months after her brother passed away. I certainly do my research, too, out of respect more than anything else.

Speaking of dirt, give us some: What is the weirdest thing that ever happened on a shoot?
On one of my outings with Tom [Cruise] I asked him to tip a bottle of water over his head—so at the end of the day he got me back and returned the favor! And oh, I’ve gotten both Dustin Hoffman and Leonardo DiCaprio to jump in pools of water fully clothed. Dustin also compared the sizes of our noses once, but I can’t remember who won—or lost—depending on how you look at it. But it’s like Madonna suggested in the foreword, I’m basically a nerd, so I don’t have much dirt.

Finally, I know I could never ask a photographer to pick just one, but who are some of your favorite subjects?
Johnny Depp, because he was the first celebrity I ever shot. He looked so cool when he walked in the studio I shot him just as he was. And then there’s Madonna, for so many reasons, not least of all because she’s such a wonderful and passionate person. Dustin Hoffman was undoubtedly one of the most memorable.

Read more...

Christopher Kane Gets All The Girls: Joy, Sara, Bee, Nicole…And Barbie

Versus is sponsoring the Art of Elysium’s second annual Bright Lights dance party this Friday, which means not only will Donatella Versace and Christopher Kane be in the house, but also that the label’s tiny cupcake-foil minidresses will be in large supply at Milk Studios. While hostesses Joy Bryant, Sara Moonves, Bee Shaffer, and Nicole Vecchiarelli do some last-minute vying for the numbers below (our personal suggestions from a Fall show full of worthy contenders), Kane will be playing guest of honor at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Center, where he will treat the young patients to a workshop in designing and making clothes for Barbies. “We’ll cut the fabric from scratch, use simple shapes, and glue on gemstones,” the designer told us. “I’m sure they’re gonna love it.”

To buy a $150 ticket to the dance—which supports the charitable work of other art, Hollywood, and fashion world types in hospitals across the country—visitwww.theartofelysium.org. It won’t be an entirely selfless gesture: Limited-edition T-shirts featuring the original Bruce Weber Versus ad campaign (left) will be available for sale at the event, and items from Kane’s Fall collection for Versus will be available by special order.


Read more...

Madonna’s Favorite Photog Talks Shop

Tom Munro’s new book is chock-full of celebrity portraits: Jennifer Lopez, Dustin Hoffman, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Johnny Depp, Ashton Kutcher. But it’s Madonna that he seems most smitten with: Madge is on the cover, scattered throughout the book, and even wrote the foreword. Her poetic summation of the photographer’s art? “To have your picture taken by Tom Munro / Is kind of like smoking a bubblegum cigarette. / You can strike a pose, look cool / Get all of the sweetness, / And not suffer any side effects.” Hey, works for us. Munro spoke to Style.com about the fame, the faces, and photos—and a very special nose-off (read on, trust us).
Tom Munro is available atwww.amazon.com.

I guess the first thing to talk about is how you became photographer. When did you get your first camera, and when did you realize this would be a career?
I was in my mid-twenties. I spent a year traveling through Asia and Australia with an old Leica. Never mind I hardly knew the difference between an aperture and a shutter speed, but I took some pictures to document the trip. When I returned to England I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I enrolled in an art foundation course and took a few classes on photography. That’s when I began to seriously think of it as a real profession.

Well, it worked: Look at this book! Why did you choose to do a book now, and how did you choose these particular images?
Initially I was thinking of doing an exhibition to raise money for an African charity, but as I looked through my archive I thought to myself, “There’s a book here.” Moët & Chandon generously made that become a reality. The editing process was easy as the subjects are all iconic; what is interesting to me is that the book represents a moment in time and, given the subject matter, will hopefully stand the test of time. I hope it becomes more interesting as time passes.

Getting Madonna to write your introduction is pretty major. What is it like to work with her? When did you meet, and how did you become such close collaborators?
I first met Madonna on an editorial shoot for Elle. I think Madonna was keen to work with me as I had worked with her stylist Arianne Phillips before, and my ex-boss Steven Meisel put in a good word for me. Working with Madonna is really inspiring and a privilege. It’s rare to work with someone who is so driven, who brings so much to the creative process. After the shoot, Madonna asked if I would be interested in collaborating on her music video “Give It to Me.” This was my first introduction to film and I jumped at the opportunity. We did another video, “Die Another Day,” and I shot the tour book for Sticky and Sweet.

Also I had been involved with a Charity in Kenya called MEAK (Medical and Education Aid for Kenya) and knew of Madonna’s charity work in Malawi, so I asked Madonna if I could tag along on one of her visits to Africa. What she is doing there is quite extensive. It was a wonderful and moving experience to go with her, so I asked Madonna if I could list her charity as one of the beneficiaries of the book, along with MEAK.


Beyond Madonna, the rest of the book is a Hollywood who’s who: Beyoncé, Leonardo, Tom Cruise, and even Lady Gaga. Do you have a routine for preparing, meeting, and then shooting these well-known faces? Do you, like, Google them or talk on the phone before they show up?
I’ve been very fortunate to collaborate with these kinds of people. In cases like Leo, Tom, Justin [Timberlake], Keanu, and Madonna, I’ve worked with them repeatedly, so there’s a mutual understanding. There are times when I have no communication prior to the shoot—Lady Gaga for example. Sometimes there are conversations: I remember Janet Jackson calling me last August while I was vacationing on my farm in the Catskills. It was a little surreal to talk to her still covered in dirt and having just jumped off a tractor—[and] only months after her brother passed away. I certainly do my research, too, out of respect more than anything else.

Speaking of dirt, give us some: What is the weirdest thing that ever happened on a shoot?
On one of my outings with Tom [Cruise] I asked him to tip a bottle of water over his head—so at the end of the day he got me back and returned the favor! And oh, I’ve gotten both Dustin Hoffman and Leonardo DiCaprio to jump in pools of water fully clothed. Dustin also compared the sizes of our noses once, but I can’t remember who won—or lost—depending on how you look at it. But it’s like Madonna suggested in the foreword, I’m basically a nerd, so I don’t have much dirt.

Finally, I know I could never ask a photographer to pick just one, but who are some of your favorite subjects?
Johnny Depp, because he was the first celebrity I ever shot. He looked so cool when he walked in the studio I shot him just as he was. And then there’s Madonna, for so many reasons, not least of all because she’s such a wonderful and passionate person. Dustin Hoffman was undoubtedly one of the most memorable.

Read more...

Christopher Kane Gets All The Girls: Joy, Sara, Bee, Nicole…And Barbie

Versus is sponsoring the Art of Elysium’s second annual Bright Lights dance party this Friday, which means not only will Donatella Versace and Christopher Kane be in the house, but also that the label’s tiny cupcake-foil minidresses will be in large supply at Milk Studios. While hostesses Joy Bryant, Sara Moonves, Bee Shaffer, and Nicole Vecchiarelli do some last-minute vying for the numbers below (our personal suggestions from a Fall show full of worthy contenders), Kane will be playing guest of honor at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Center, where he will treat the young patients to a workshop in designing and making clothes for Barbies. “We’ll cut the fabric from scratch, use simple shapes, and glue on gemstones,” the designer told us. “I’m sure they’re gonna love it.”

To buy a $150 ticket to the dance—which supports the charitable work of other art, Hollywood, and fashion world types in hospitals across the country—visitwww.theartofelysium.org. It won’t be an entirely selfless gesture: Limited-edition T-shirts featuring the original Bruce Weber Versus ad campaign (left) will be available for sale at the event, and items from Kane’s Fall collection for Versus will be available by special order.


Read more...

Every Asian Parent’s Nightmare? Nah, It’s Just Fashion


“This panel has become every Asian parent’s nightmare,” joked SuChin Pak. The MTV correspondent was at Columbia University yesterday to moderate a panel of Asian-Americans in—gaspthe fashion industry. But even if they haven’t chosen law or medicine, it’s hard to imagine the superstar panelists aren’t doing their folks proud. A diverse group including Phillip Lim, Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Elle’s Joe Zee, and stylists Tina Chai and Aya T. Kanai were all on hand to discuss their experiences in fashion. Not that they’d all started there. Carol Lim and Tina Chai had worked in investment banking and law, respectively, before switching fields. But all of the panelists stressed the important of following their passions, whether, like Chai, from law to a magazine job to freelance, or Zee, who’d never wanted to do anything but work for magazines. And while that often led them to sidestep a more traditional career (or the wishes of their parents), Phillip Lim clarified that there’s nothing so specifically Asian-American about that. “The future is really a global citizen,” he said following the panel. “It’s a shame we have to break it down and categorize it. Maybe those are the first steps in order to eventually having the ultimate goal of just one citizen.”

Read more...

Every Asian Parent’s Nightmare? Nah, It’s Just Fashion


“This panel has become every Asian parent’s nightmare,” joked SuChin Pak. The MTV correspondent was at Columbia University yesterday to moderate a panel of Asian-Americans in—gaspthe fashion industry. But even if they haven’t chosen law or medicine, it’s hard to imagine the superstar panelists aren’t doing their folks proud. A diverse group including Phillip Lim, Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Elle’s Joe Zee, and stylists Tina Chai and Aya T. Kanai were all on hand to discuss their experiences in fashion. Not that they’d all started there. Carol Lim and Tina Chai had worked in investment banking and law, respectively, before switching fields. But all of the panelists stressed the important of following their passions, whether, like Chai, from law to a magazine job to freelance, or Zee, who’d never wanted to do anything but work for magazines. And while that often led them to sidestep a more traditional career (or the wishes of their parents), Phillip Lim clarified that there’s nothing so specifically Asian-American about that. “The future is really a global citizen,” he said following the panel. “It’s a shame we have to break it down and categorize it. Maybe those are the first steps in order to eventually having the ultimate goal of just one citizen.”

Read more...

Obama urges bipartisan effort on soaring deficits

Reuters – U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship at the Ronald Reagan …

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama said Tuesday Washington must urgently confront unpleasant truths about deficits, while theFederal Reserve chairman said failure to mop up red-ink spending would "ultimately do great damage" to the country.

Obama refused to rule out measures that would fight "exploding deficits." This signaled that politically toxic tax increases were options that could be under consideration by members of a panel he tasked with reducing federal deficits that threaten to erode Americans' standard of living.

Obama explicitly told reporters in the White House's Rose Garden that neither he nor his commission members would say what options remain viable.

"We're not playing that game. I'm not going to say what's in. I'm not going to say what's out. I want this commission to be free to do its work," said the president, flanked by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the two men he asked to lead efforts to reach a consensus plan for the deficit.

It's a task, though, that even members of the bipartisan fiscal commission admit is an almost impossible chore: produce a deficit no bigger than $550 billion by 2015, an amount equal to about 3 percent of the total U.S. economy. That would require deficit savings in the range of $250 billion or more.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke used the commission's first meeting as a forum to make his most urgent call yet to get the government's fiscal house in order. He warned that failing to curbfederal budget deficits would damage the U.S. economy in the long run.

Bernanke again urged the White House and Congress to come up with a credible plan to reduce the nation's red ink, which hit a record $1.4 trillion last year.

Failing to do so would push interest rates higher — not only for Americans buying cars, homes and other things — but also for Uncle Sam to service its debt payments, he said.

"The path forward contains many difficult trade-offs and choices, but postponing those choices and failing to put the nation's finances on a sustainable long-run trajectory would ultimately do great damage to our economy," Bernanke said.

Budget director Peter Orszag told the panel that Democrats and Republicans must work together to tame deficit-spending habits.

"If we allow the policy positions that divide us to prevent us from taking action, the projected medium- and long-term deficits will threaten the health of our economy and the living standards our people enjoy," Orszag said. "Sustained, growing long-term deficits will increase our reliance on creditors from abroad, reduce investment in our labs, factories, and businesses, and weaken confidence in the federal government's creditworthiness."

Read more...

Arizona immigration law puts police in 'impossible situation'

Thousands march in Arizona against immigration law

Los Angeles – Local law enforcement agencies have moved front and center in the national debate over immigration reform with the signing of Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law.

The law – signed Friday by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) – requires law enforcement to check the residency status of those thought to be in the country illegally. Police unions were divided on the issue and some leading law enforcement agencies petitioned Governor Brewer not to sign the bill – fearing racial profiling and loss of the public's trust.

Police face contradicting missions, critics argue. “This obviously puts police in an impossible situation because it requires them to pursue two goals simultaneously: to enforce the immigration laws; and to enforce the criminal laws, keep the peace, provide assistance, and all the other ordinary tasks of police officers,” says Joel Jacobsen,assistant attorney general, criminal appeals division for New Mexico. “Which goal should they pursue?"

Under the new law, the consequences for victim and perpetrator will not align, says Mr. Jacobsen. "It will frequently not be possible to do both, because the officer will be required to arrest perpetrator and victim both, and the punishment experienced by the victim of a violent crimewill frequently be more severe and life-disrupting – deportation – than that experienced by the perpetrator – a night in jail, perhaps.”

Read more...

Goldman execs defend conduct under Senate barrage

WASHINGTON – Goldman Sachs officials strongly disputed barbed accusations Tuesday from U.S. senators that the firm cashed in on the housing meltdown by crafting a strategy to bet against home loan securities while misleading its own investors.

The investment bank officials ran into a wall of bipartisan wrath before the Senate panel investigating Goldman's role in the national financial crisis. Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan accused Wall Street firms of selling securities they wouldn't invest in themselves. That's "unbridled greed in the absence of the cop on the beat to control it," he said.

Fabrice Tourre

Democrats hope rising public anger with Wall Street will help them push new financial regulations past Republican objections — a pending overhaul bill that Levin said would "put a cop back on the Wall Street beat."

Among the officials testifying Tuesday was Fabrice Tourre, a 31-year-old Goldman trader who, along with the firm, has been charged with civil fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC says Tourre marketed securities without telling buyers they were chosen with help from a Goldman hedge fund client that was betting the investments would fail. The commission alleged that Tourre told investors the hedge fund, Paulson & Co., actually bought into the investments.

Tourre testified that he doesn't recall telling investors that.

"I deny — categorically — the SEC's allegation," Tourre said. "And I will defend myself in court against this false claim."

Through hours of questioning, the executives stood their ground. They rejected the senators' accusations that Goldman helped fuel the financial crisis that plunged the country into recession.

"We did not cause the financial crisis. ... I do not think that we did anything wrong," said Michael Swenson, who runs Goldman'sstructured products group trading.

Tourre said: "I am saddened and humbled by what happened in the market in 2007 and 2008. ... But I believe my conduct was proper."

At times, the senators and the witnesses, who have long marketed complex mortgage investments likecollateralized debt obligations, seemed to struggle to explain themselves to the other side. The senators cast Goldman's efforts to bet against securities as a contributor to the crisis. By contrast, the Goldman officials described their use of such trading tools as a way to reduce risks for the company and its clients.

In a brash January 2007 e-mail, Tourre called himself "The fabulous Fab ... standing in the middle of all these complex ... exotic trades he created."

At one point, about a half dozen protesters entered the committee room, dressed in prison stripes with names on signs around their necks of Tourre and Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who was scheduled to testify later in the day.

"Fabulous Fab is not so fab when he takes from the poor," the protesters spoke as a chorus before the hearing started. "We want to see these guys behind bars." They hissed at times during the testimony.

Read more...

Matthew Williamson Thinks Pink, Louis Vuitton Goes Green, And More…

Vodka-inspired fashion may sound like a terrible idea, but leave it to Matthew Williamson to make even the slightly soused look chic. His new pink caftan (pictured) is inspired by Belvedere’s new pink grapefruit flavor.

Congratulations to Marc Jacobs president Robert Duffy, who married his partner, Alexis Cespedes, last week and nabbed that most coveted wedding accessory—no, not the ring, the Times announcement.


Is Deacon in at Ungaro? Following a week of rampant Internet speculation, Jason Campbell says (rather, tweets) yes.

A convenient truth: Santa Monica Place shopping center will be home to the world’s first LEED-certified Louis Vuitton store.

Read more...

Matthew Williamson Thinks Pink, Louis Vuitton Goes Green, And More…

Vodka-inspired fashion may sound like a terrible idea, but leave it to Matthew Williamson to make even the slightly soused look chic. His new pink caftan (pictured) is inspired by Belvedere’s new pink grapefruit flavor.

Congratulations to Marc Jacobs president Robert Duffy, who married his partner, Alexis Cespedes, last week and nabbed that most coveted wedding accessory—no, not the ring, the Times announcement.


Is Deacon in at Ungaro? Following a week of rampant Internet speculation, Jason Campbell says (rather, tweets) yes.

A convenient truth: Santa Monica Place shopping center will be home to the world’s first LEED-certified Louis Vuitton store.

Read more...

President Omar al-Bashir declared winner of Sudan poll

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has been declared the winner of this month's landmark elections, despite facing war crimes charges over Darfur.

President Omar al-Bashir

Former rebel leader Salva Kiir has been confirmed in power in the semi-autonomous south in the first polls since the north-south war ended.

The polls were Sudan's first multi-party elections in 24 years.

Observers and opposition parties have complained of fraud and - particularly in the south - of intimidation.

Sudan's election commission said Mr Bashir had received 68% of the vote.

ANALYSIS
James Copnall
By James Copnall, BBC News, Khartoum

President Omar al-Bashir, who came to power in a coup two decades ago, can now say he has won multi-party elections.

Both President Bashir and his party in the North, and Salva Kiir and the SPLM in the south, have been able to shore up their power bases dramatically.

Some of the gloss has undoubtedly been removed by the boycott of several major opposition parties and politicians.

But there is no doubt the international community will accept these results - with one eye on next January's crucial referendum on possible southern independence.

The reaction of the northern opposition, and of disaffected southerners who ran against the SPLM, is the thing to be watched closely.

It also said Mr Kiir, leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), had received 93% of the southern vote.

The BBC's James Copnall in Khartoum says President Bashir could present his re-election as a popular rebuke for the International Criminal Court, which has issued an arrest warrant against him for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

Sudan's leader strongly denies the charges.

His two main challengers withdrew before the elections began, claiming that the process had already been rigged.

Our correspondent says these accusations and withdrawals have dented the credibility of the elections.

The SPLM joined a national coalition government after a 2005 peace deal but relations between the supposed partners remain tense.

A referendum is due in 2011 on whether the south, where most people are Christian or follow traditional religions, should secede from the Arab-dominated mostly-Muslim north.

Mr Bashir has said he would respect the outcome of the referendum but some fear conflict could resume, especially in the oil-rich border region.

Speaking in a televised address after the poll result was announced, Mr Bashir said: "The referendum in south Sudan will take place on schedule."

SUDAN STAKES
map
Africa's biggest country
Divided along religious and ethnic lines
11-15 April elections first multi-party national poll for 24 years
Continuing conflict in Darfur
President Bashir wanted for war crimes in Darfur
South Sudan rebuilding after 21 years of civil war
South Sudan could secede in 2011
Large oil fields near north-south border

He described his election win as a victory for "all Sudanese", and played down criticism of the poll, praising "the civilised and respectful conduct during these elections, which saw no clashes or friction".

The EU and the Carter Center said the polls were below international standards.

But former US President Jimmy Carter said he believed the international community would recognise the winners all the same.

Mr Bashir and his National Congress Party were already well ahead in the results already announced from the 11-15 April elections.

As well as the national and southern presidential contests, elections were also held for the national, regional and state parliaments and state governors.

Tension in Sudan was raised over the weekend, with reports of clashes along the north-south border.

Some 55 people were said to have been killed in clashes between an Arab community and southern soldiers.

The weekend violence was the most serious since the polls.

The clashes reportedly began over grazing rights for cattle - a common source of conflict in the area.

But southern government officials say their soldiers were attacked by members of the northern army - charges denied in Khartoum.

Read more...

Greece debt: Merkel pledges support from Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged German support to a European financial aid package for Greece, provided "certain conditions" are met.

Angela Merkel

Speaking to reporters, the chancellor said that Germany would play its part in order to ensure the future stability of the euro.

But she said Greece would have to be ready to accept "tough measures" over several years in return.

Germany has faced criticism over its lukewarm response to Greece's problems.

Fears that Europe's largest economic power would refuse to back a rescue package for the struggling Greek economy has helped to hit investor confidence in recent weeks.

"Germany will help if the approproate conditions are met," Mrs Merkel said. "Germany feels an enormous obligation towards the stability of the euro.

'Critical deadline'

"If Greece is ready to accept tough measures, not just in one year but over several years, then we have a good chance to secure the stability of the euro for us all."

She did not elaborate on what tough measures might entail, but rejected the idea of expelling Greece from the eurozone.

WHAT WENT WRONG IN GREECE?

An old drachma note and a euro note
Greece's economic reforms that led to it abandoning the drachma in favour of the euro in 2002 made it easier for the country to borrow money.
BACK1 of 6NEXT

Greece's finance minister George Papaconstantinou warned on Monday of the urgent need to meet a "critical" debt deadline.

The country needs to raise 9bn euros (£7.7bn) by May 19 and cannot go to the markets because of the "prohibitive" interest rates, he said.

"There is a critical date for Greece. It is the date when bonds of around 9bn euros will reach maturity," he told parliament.

"Until then our borrowing needs are covered but the market conditions... are completely prohibitive for a new debt sale on the markets," he said.

The Greek government's cost of borrowing on the money markets has reached record levels in recent days amid investor concern over whether a 40bn euro (£34bn) bail-out package for Greece will be agreed.

Eurozone countries, together with the International Monetary Fund, have yet to agree details of the package, which has met with domestic resistance in Germany and other eurozone countries.

'Fear'

Investors are also concerned that the Greek government's austerity measures - designed to cut domestic spending and reduce its ballooning budget deficit - will prove too unpopular with the Greek public.

"The Greek government is going to have to deliver a multi-year consolidation programme," said Ken Wattret, chief European economist at BNP Paribas.

"There is a fear in the financial markets that the government will be either unwilling or unable to deliver these austerity measures."

Read more...

copyright Oxkoon Inc.