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North Korea has reacted angrily to Swiss decision to block a deal to sell ski lifts to the secretive communist country.

The equipment – which included chair lifts and cable cars – was for the Masik ski resort project which is currently under construction.

But the Swiss government said last week the equipment constituted luxury goods and so was subject to UN sanctions.

North Korea’s Skiers’ Association said such equipment should not be banned.

The resort, it said in a statement, was aimed at giving North Koreans “highly civilized and happy living conditions and make them enjoy all blessings.

“Cableway equipment for the ski resort do not produce any rocket or nuclear weapon,” it added.

North Korea has reacted angrily to Swiss decision to block a deal to sell ski lifts to the secretive communist country

North Korea has reacted angrily to Swiss decision to block a deal to sell ski lifts to the secretive communist country

The Masik ski resort site was believed to be a pet project of leader Kim Jong-un, who reportedly skied when he attended secondary school in Bern under an assumed name.

It is also being viewed as a response to South Korea hosting the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Work on the site had been delayed by heavy rains and landslides, but Kim Jong-un wanted the resort to be finished by the end of the year.

The North Korean leader has repeatedly visited the site and promoted it as an attempt to enhance the lifestyle of the nation’s citizens.

But Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) labeled the resort a “prestigious propaganda project for the regime”.

“It is inconceivable that this resort will be used by the general public,” SECO spokeswoman Marie Avet said.

The ski lift deal with Swiss company Bartholet Maschinenbau, valued at more than $7 million, is reportedly the third to fall through due to sanctions.

Austrian and French manufacturers also turned down deals, citing political reasons.

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Luxury goods worth more than $16 million are to be seized from Saudi Princess Maha Al-Sudairi to pay her shopping bills, a Paris judge ordered on Thursday.

Maha Al-Sudairi, who was once married to Saudi’s late Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, helped herself to millions of dollars worth of goods whenever she visited Paris.

As well as art works and jewellery, they included $8,500 worth of luxury chocolates, and $2.2 million on the hire of two Rolls Royce Phantoms and “around 30 chauffeurs” to take her shopping.

Last year, Maha Al-Sudairi took over an entire floor at the four star Shangri-la Hotel with 60 servants for six months, but failed to settle the $8.5 million bill.

When King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia refused to pay for her stay, the princess claimed diplomatic immunity and moved to the Royal Monceau Hotel nearby.

Princess Maha Al-Sudairi, 58, has now been sued by six creditors through a court in the suburb of Nanterre.

A judge ruled that three storage units registered to the princess should be opened, and their contents sold so as to pay off her debts.

Princess Maha Al-Sudairi, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, is the divorced wife of the late Saudi Crown Prince and interior minister, Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. He died last June, just as Maha Al-Sudairi left the Shangri-la.

Luxury goods worth more than $16 million are to be seized from Saudi Princess Maha Al-Sudairi to pay her shopping bills in Paris

Luxury goods worth more than $16 million are to be seized from Saudi Princess Maha Al-Sudairi to pay her shopping bills in Paris

In 2009 Maha Al-Sudairi was urged to stay away from France after running up unpaid bills of $22 million.

She is known to have bought three storage units in central Paris, where she is believed to have stashed her wares from her shopping trips around Paris– said to include luxury leather goods, artworks, jewellery, and clothing worth up to $16 million.

A spokesman for the Shangri-La said the hotel was pleased at the judge’s ruling, but did not expect the bill to be settled soon.

“The princess’s belongings will need to be valued and then sold at auction, and even then we may need to take international legal action against the princess before we see any cash,” he said.

Maha Al-Sudairi’s fabulously wealthy credentials meant her IOU notes handed to shopkeepers reading “payment to follow” were usually accepted.

Over the past years, up to 30 of Paris’s most exclusive luxury goods retailers have fallen foul of her credit notes.

Jacky Giami, owner of Paris’s Key Largo leisure wear store, said the princess and her relatives pillaged his shop of more than $160,000 worth of stock three years ago.

He said he spent days loitering in the bar of the Georges V hotel hoping to confront her, only to learn she had fled to London.

In 1995, Princess Maha Al-Sudairi was accused of assaulting a servant in Orange County, Florida, whom she suspected of stealing $240, 000 from her. No charges were filed.

Julie Nelson, a leading economist from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, has thrown the popular “Lipstick Effect” theory into doubt, suggesting that the research behind it is based on “over-generalized gender stereotypes”.

The well-known phenomenon suggests that women buy less-expensive luxury goods, such as cosmetics, in tough economic times in a bid to increase their attractiveness to mates.

Now, Julie Nelson has stated that the “overly general” findings only serve to reinforce “stereotypes about women’s lives – and social value – centering on questions of their attractiveness to men”.

She told ABC News that the theory is “a gross over-generalization” adding that recent studies aiming to give it scientific status came from a narrow sub-class of women – young university students within the U.S.

Julie Nelson has thrown the popular Lipstick Effect theory into doubt, suggesting that the research behind it is based on over-generalized gender stereotypes

Julie Nelson has thrown the popular Lipstick Effect theory into doubt, suggesting that the research behind it is based on over-generalized gender stereotypes

Also that the phenomenon only applies to “women who reported themselves to be highly motivated to attract a male romantic partner, but not among young women with low motivation”.

She added: “Along with young women not looking for a partner, it is not at all clear that older women, married women, lesbian women, or women from other educational and cultural backgrounds would share this so-called <<women’s psychology>>.”

Julie Nelson said it is “plausible” that the purchase of beauty products and make-up is an evolutionary outcome of competition for mates, but it “is a far cry from it being scientifically demonstrated”.

She pointed out the study’s results suggest that maintaining one’s appearance in the face of adversity, might be a stronger motivation than the desire to attract a mate and it would be valuable to repeat similar research with older married women.

In the paper Boosting Beauty in an Economic Decline: Mating, Spending, and the Lipstick Effect, which was published last month by researchers from Texas Christian University, University of Minnesota, University of Texas at San Antonio and Arizona State University, presented five studies.

Following evolutionary theories, Sarah Hill, co-author of the study said: “We may not consciously think we’re buying them to make ourselves more desirable to men.

“But our lizard brains go after these things even when we think we’re too smart to be lured in by manipulative advertising claims like, <,these jeans will help get you a man>>.”

For the study 154 university students including 82 women and 72 men were presented with fictitious articles highlighting the recession.

The participants were then asked if the content caused them to think there were fewer physically attractive suitors available with a steady job and income and the majority answered “yes”.

The participants were then asked, based on their gender, about their desire to purchase six products.

Three products enhanced physical appearance including two fashion items and a lipstick for women and facial cream for men. The other three products were a wireless mouse, stapler and headphones.

While men’s purchasing desires were not effected, women in the recession condition demonstrated a “significant interaction between priming condition and product type” opting for products that would enhance their appearance.

Defending the findings Vlad Griskevicius, one of the co-authors of the paper from the University of Minnesota argued that the work was “grounded in theory about universal human nature rather than cultural stereotypes”, although he admitted that further research is needed.

 

The ultimate millionaire’s toy is a $190,000 flying hovercraft, which is able to glide over land and water and soar through the air.

Available through U.S luxury goods firm Hammacher Schlemmer, the bright yellow amphibious and airborne vehicle features a 130 horsepower twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine and can hit speeds of up to 70 mph.

The craft can take to the air in short bursts and reach heights of fifty-feet above the water, ice or land.

This ability makes the flying hovercraft unique, enabling the pilot to simply hop over insurmountable obstacles that would stump a normal craft.

Available through U.S luxury goods firm Hammacher Schlemmer, the bright yellow amphibious and airborne vehicle features a 130 horsepower twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine and can hit speeds of up to 70 mph

Available through U.S luxury goods firm Hammacher Schlemmer, the bright yellow amphibious and airborne vehicle features a 130 horsepower twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine and can hit speeds of up to 70 mph

Turbocharged and fuel-injected, the craft’s integrated wings are propelled by a 60 inch wood/carbon composite turbine and a 1,100-rpm fan inflates the nylon skirt around the craft used for hovering.

The durable vehicle is able to operate on sand, mud, grass, swamp, desert, ice and snow.

Capable of traveling 160 miles on one tank, the flying hovercraft is perfect for the customer who is unsure whether they want to travel by the water or air to their destination.

Steady in winds of up to 25 miles per hour, the hovercraft can also take to the water in waves of up to six feet.

Able to accommodate up to three passengers with a combined weight of no more than 600 pounds, the flying hovercraft even comes with a PVC roof to make sure that no one gets sprayed.

Controlled via a main joystick, the pilot simply pushes, twists and pulls to accelerate, turn and brake.

Even though the craft can fly, according to Hammacher Schlemmer it must be registered as a boat.