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Super-rich's island party is riven with superyacht envy



Once a year, the world’s super-rich come together on the Caribbean island of St Barts.

But this party is also a battle of the billionaires—for who has the most impressive superyacht.

The current leader of the field by far is Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.

His superyacht, Eclipse, is worth an incredible £1 billion—and at 557 feet long, it’s the world’s biggest privately owned yacht.

Eclipse’s kitting-out perhaps reveals a little of its owner’s paranoia. This is a superyacht with its very own missile defense system.

Abramovich’s suite is armour-plated, and he has a mini-submarine on board in case he needs to make a quick escape.

The boat is truly massive. It has room for 62 guests, with two swimming pools and two helipads. Its 80 staff all wear tan-coloured uniforms.

But Abramovich had competition in St Barts, most notably from Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Muhammad al-Thani.

His yacht may be smaller, but it’s still 436 feet—longer than a football pitch. And it may only have one helipad and pool, but it does boast lots of bars and a cinema too.

It makes the likes of Simon Cowell, P Diddy and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who all brought their yachts along, look like little more than sad runners-up.

Still, Abramovich has one thing up his sleeve. Not only does he own the biggest boat, he owns the 70 acre estate where the party is held.


Driving each other crazy

When the poshos aren’t battling over superyachts, they’re getting upset with each other about their fast cars.

Super-rich types living in London’s posh Kensington are getting cross about millionaires with Ferraris and Lamborghinis “drifting” around corners near Harrods. Long may they annoy each other.


Back and forth

For two weeks in 2010, a train full of biofuels slowly trundled back and forward across the US-Canada border 24 times.

It never unloaded its cargo, yet it earned £1.6 million. It turns out that the US green energy programme gave out renewable energy credits each time they were “imported”. The planet is in safe hands.


Thatcher takes up residence at the Ritz

Margaret Thatcher has a new pad—the posh Ritz hotel. After hearing she is ill, the up to £4,500-a-night central London hotel invited her “to stay there for the foreseeable future”, says the Daily Mail.

It was always one of her favourite places, the newspaper adds—better even than her four-storey Belgravia home. “She is being pampered by all the staff,” a friend said. It’s good to see that in this time of austerity Thatcher is sharing our pain.

But Thatcher’s not the only one with a hotel hideaway. Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been spotted at a five-star resort in Mauritius. Rooms at the “totally indulgent tropical hideaway”, as the resort calls itself, cost up to £1,200 a night.

Strauss-Kahn, who was accused of raping a hotel cleaner in 2011, has nevertheless continued jetsetting around the world and staying in plush hotels. He was last spotted in Venice on a speedboat.


Councils: exercise for your benefits

Overweight people should have their benefits cut, a councils’ think-tank has declared. It says that housing and council tax benefits should be cut unless people go to the gym. Westminster council has already backed the proposals.

People could even be given smart cards to swipe when they go to leisure centres, the report adds. So now we’ll not only have to jump through hoops, we’ll be put on the Tories’ treadmill as well.

Meanwhile Tory councillors in Surrey spent £4,158 on a two-day “workshop”—at a castle. The posh 12th century Farnham Castle has five acres of gardens and features an ornate banqueting hall. It comes as some 650 workers face losing their jobs at the council thanks to the cuts.


Know your enemy: Paul Burstow

Paul Burstow is a Lib Dem MP and former health minister. He says that 10 million pensioners should lose the winter fuel allowance—a cut of £1.5 billion. Instead it would be limited to the very poorest

Presumably this is an example of how the Lib Dems are “protecting” us from the worst of the Tory cuts.


Rail minister gets chauffeur driven car

The minister responsible for rail fares has been going to work in a chaffeur-driven car instead of taking the train.

Simon Burns’ car costs £80,000 a year to make the trip from Essex to Westminster. He claims he needs the perk for “security reasons”.

It comes after transport minister Norman Baker said rail fares are “not that expensive” and passengers are getting a “premium service”.

Rail fares rose by up to 6.4 percent this year. Some tickets have gone up 70 percent in a decade.


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The Troublemaker
Sat 12 Jan 2013, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2335
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