Tag Archive | "australia"

New Zealand To Rip Off The Hollywood Sign, And Hollywood Isn’t Happy

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It’s no secret that New Zealand’s always harbored a little bit of a “baby brother” complex. First, to their trans-Tasman (I looked it up) neighbors, Australia, who apparently have a reputation for taking credit for Kiwi singers and desserts, amongst other things. But now that they’ve shot a ridiculously successful trilogy of films about some magic Hobbits who are deeply in love with each other, it seems that they’re ready to fire a few shots in our direction as well. And they’re getting started by aping our most famous landmark. Read the full story

Opening Bell: 05.13.11

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SEC Eyes Charges For Bond Players (WSJ)
Securities and Exchange Commission officials are pushing hard as part of their ongoing probe of collateralized debt obligations and other mortgage-related products developed by Wall Street to bring charges against individuals, such as executives involved in selling the deals or outsiders who managed the assets, these people said. While the situation remains fluid, the agency also could file civil charges against hedge-fund managers who helped structure certain mortgage-bond deals but then bet against them.

U.S. bank failure costs to exceed estimates by $2 billion (Reuters)
The FDIC’s 2010 loss estimate for bank failures rose to $24.18 billion at year’s end, up from initial estimates of $22.17 billion. The bank regulator increased the loss estimate for 102 out of 157 banks that failed in 2010, according to SNL Financial.

Brevan Howard, Jamison Hedge Funds Said to Advance During Commodities Rout (Bloomberg)
The Brevan Howard Commodities Strategies Master Fund Ltd., which managed $368 million as of March 31, gained 1.1 percent in the first week of May, an investor report obtained by Bloomberg showed. Jamison’s Koppenberg Macro Commodity Fund Ltd., which manages more than $600 million, advanced about 4 percent, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter, declining to be identified because the information is private.

Germany and France Surprise With Strong Growth (NYT)
The euro area’s two largest economies, Germany and France, showed surprising strength in the first quarter of the year, helping lift the entire continent’s performance despite sharp pain along the edges. As a result, the European Commission said in its spring forecast, released Friday, that prospects for 2011 looked “slightly better” than six months ago.

Greece Default Anticipated by 85% in Investor Poll (Bloomberg)
Eighty-five percent of those surveyed this week said Greece probably will default, with majorities predicting the same fate for Portugal and Ireland, which followed Greece in seeking European Union-led bailouts, a new Bloomberg Global Poll shows. The outlook for all three countries deteriorated since January.

Goldman’s O’Neill Says ‘Black Swan’ Concern Overblown, Stocks Set to Rally (Bloomberg)
The view that “the West is in trouble” is wrong when nations including Germany, Sweden, Australia and Canada are performing strongly, O’Neill said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong, recorded yesterday and broadcast today. Investors should “stop worrying so much,” said O’Neill, known for coining the BRIC acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China…“Every little problem that crops up somewhere in the world is not going to create another black swan,” he said, adding that “there’s far too much conservatism,” in terms of investors holding cash.

Rajaratnam Loss Raises Questions Over Defense Strategy (WSJ)
Mr. Dowd’s closing argument was one of many components of Mr. Rajaratnam’s ultimately failed defense strategy. Many moves by the defense team and Mr. Rajaratnam are now likely to be evaluated, including the selection of a largely working-class jury in a case involving a billionaire, his choice not to take the stand, Mr. Dowd’s often-combative style, and the overarching attempt to convince jurors that the hedge-fund titan only relied on publicly available information in the face of recordings to the contrary.

Rand Paul says people who support universal healthcare ‘believe in slavery’ (LA Times)
Rand Paul, the freshman senator from Kentucky, was speaking recently about healthcare, specifically the new healthcare law some refer to as “Obamacare.”  Like many Republicans, Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), doesn’t like it. Unlike many conservatives, the “tea party” darling doesn’t like the law  because it reminds him of slavery.

China Fund Confident of Getting More Cash (WSJ)
China Investment Corp. is making progress toward getting fresh funds, one of its top officials said, addressing uncertainty about the future of the sovereign-wealth fund, which faces critical scrutiny over its performance after investing all of its initial $200 billion.

Crédit Agricole doubles profits to €1bn (FT)
Crédit Agricole’s quarterly net profit rose to €1.0bn ($1.42bn) from €470m a year ago, which was higher than average analyst expectations of about €992.5m, according to a Reuters poll.

I.R.S. Moves to Tax Gifts to Groups Active in Politics (NYT)
Invoking a provision that had rarely, if ever, been enforced, the Internal Revenue Service said it had sent letters to five donors, who were not identified, informing them that their contributions may be subject to gift taxes depending on whether the donations exceeded limits under the tax laws.

1 in 3 young NYers plans to leave state (AP via NYP)
A recent poll finds that 1 in 3 New Yorkers under age 30 plans to move to another state at some point…The poll finds that most of those who plan to move will do so because of economic reasons including jobs, the cost of living, and taxes.

‘Fair Value’ Accounting Guidelines Tweaked (WSJ)
Perhaps the most significant changes affect companies’ disclosures about their “Level 3″ assets, which are the risky, illiquid securities valued using a company’s own estimates and models rather than market prices. Companies will have to disclose more about the processes and assumptions they use in their Level 3 valuations. They will also have to discuss what might happen to the company’s valuations if the factors they are using were to change.

Ashton Kutcher Will Join ‘Two and a Half Men’ (Hollywood Reporter)
Two sources close to the deal-making tell The Hollywood Reporter that the actor is putting the final touches on a deal to replace Charlie Sheen as the star of TV’s No. 1 comedy.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.09.11

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Commodity hedge fund loses $400m in oil slide (FT)
Clive Capital, the world’s largest commodity hedge fund, has been left nursing losses of more than $400m as a result of the collapse in the price of oil last week…Others, including Astenbeck Capital, the Phibro-owned fund run by Andrew Hall, are thought to have taken double-digit percentage point losses to their portfolios, according to investors…In a letter sent to investors on Friday and seen by the Financial Times, Clive said it was down 8.9 per cent on the week after what it called “extraordinary” price movements on Thursday. Clive’s management said it was at a loss to explain what had caused crude oil markets to be “annihilated”.

Silver-Mad Small Investors Fueled an Epic Rise and Fall (WSJ)
Behind silver’s historic collapse is a market that came loose of its moorings, fueled by speculative traders, many of them small investors who may have jumped in at just the wrong moment. “If gold is a Monte Carlo casino, silver is a slot machine in Las Vegas,” says Andy Smith, a senior metals strategist at Bache Commodities.

Euro Nations Divided Over Greek Debt (WSJ)
Finance chiefs from the most important euro nations discussed Greece’s problems—and other issues, including Portugal’s imminent aid package—at informal talks in Luxembourg on Friday. The gathering, one of many informal meetings of select European officials since the financial crisis began, turned into a media circus after Germany’s Spiegel Online reported its existence Friday—and claimed it had been called because Greece was thinking of leaving the euro zone. The report sent the euro tumbling…”We are not discussing the exit of Greece from the euro area. This is a stupid idea and an avenue we would never take,” said the host of Friday’s meeting, Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker.

EU eyes lower rates for Greece, Ireland amid chaos (Reuters)
The European Union is looking to lower interest rates on bailout loans to Greece and Ireland and is working on a second rescue for Athens in a chaotic effort to prevent a disorderly debt restructuring. The executive European Commission said on Monday it hoped to see a decision within weeks on reducing the rate charged to Ireland to make Dublin’s debt more sustainable.

Irish to Avoid ‘Doomsday,’ Honohan Says as Rescheduling Mooted (Bloomberg)
Irish central bank Governor Patrick Honohan said the country will avoid economic “doomsday,” as a government minister and prominent professor suggested the nation should reschedule debts from its as much as 85 billion-euro ($121 billion) bailout. Honohan was responding to Morgan Kelly, an economics professor dubbed Ireland’s Doctor Doom, who wrote in the Irish Times newspaper that Ireland faces a “prolonged and chaotic national bankruptcy.”

U.S. Will Urge China to Boost Interest Rates in Washington Talks (Bloomberg)
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will urge China to allow higher interest rates when he meets with Chinese leaders this week, as the U.S. extends its push for a stronger yuan.

Private Equity Has A Horse In This Race (Dealbook)
Carl Pascarella, an executive at TPG, the private equity firm, owns a piece of the the colt that shocked the horse racing world on Saturday with a come-from-behind victory. Animal Kingdom, who had never run on dirt and only had four races under his belt, covered the mile and a quarter in 2:02.04.

AIG Fall Blunts Talk Of Taxpayer Gain (WSJ)
What Treasury chooses to do with its AIG shares “is essentially a political decision,” says Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida. “Government officials and politicians would like to say we broke even and didn’t lose any taxpayer money” in the AIG bailout, he says. “But as a taxpayer, I would be happy if we got out close to whole, and losing a little would ultimately be a good outcome” given the amount that was committed to the AIG bailout, Mr. Ritter says.

Fee Pitched for Fast Firms (WSJ)
Sen. Charles Schumer told regulators that sophisticated electronic traders should bear the cost of monitoring their dealings, with special fees assessed to firms that issue and then rapidly cancel securities orders.

UBS fears missing ambitious targets (FT)
Oswald Grübel, chief executive, surprised analysts last month by maintaining his medium-term goals of SFr20bn (€16bn) in annual revenues and SFr6bn in pre-tax profits for the group’s recovering investment bank. UBS’s performance targets were set in late 2009, before the new Basel III framework was finalised and before regulators in Switzerland proposed their own additional capital requirements for the group…However, according to senior UBS bankers, there is a growing acceptance that the targets are aspirational and will be extremely difficult to achieve over the next two years.

Moody’s: Expiring of US muni backstops going well (Reuters)
An expected flood of expirations of liquidity facilities on U.S. municipal debt this year is so far going well, Moody’s Investors Service reported on Monday.

SEC reform proposal threatens ‘dark pools’ (FT)
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is considering a proposal to move more trading back on to exchanges from alternative venues such as “dark pools”, which has drawn sharp criticism from banks and many trading firms. David Shillman, associate director of the SEC’s division of trading and markets, told the Financial Times that a so-called “trade at” rule is “very much in play. There’s interest in it”. The “trade at” rule, which would require non-exchange venues to improve on the displayed market price, is a response to concerns among some academics and market participants that a rising share of trading happening outside of exchanges is making trading more expensive and difficult.

US Q1 home values see biggest drop since 2008–Zillow (Reuters)
Zillow said its home value index fell 3 percent in the first three months of the year from the previous quarter, and was down 8.2 percent year-over-year.

Seeking Business, States Loosen Insurance Rules (NYT)
Vermont, and a handful of other states including Utah, South Carolina, Delaware and Hawaii, are aggressively remaking themselves as destinations of choice for the kind of complex private insurance transactions once done almost exclusively offshore. Roughly 30 states have passed some type of law to allow companies to set up special insurance subsidiaries called captives, which can conduct Bermuda-style financial wizardry right in a policyholder’s own backyard.

Berkshire Hathaway profit falls on Japan (Reuters)
Berkshire reported a net profit of $1.51 billion, or $917 per Class A share, compared with a profit of $3.63 billion, or $2,272 per Class A share, a year earlier. The company took a provision of $1.7 billion in the first quarter for catastrophe losses, primarily for the Japan earthquake but also from a quake in New Zealand and flooding in Australia…Berkshire also recorded losses of $506 million in the first quarter for stocks where the company’s investment was in a loss position and that loss was not considered temporary. The biggest share of the loss was an impairment on part of Berkshire’s stake in Wells Fargo, and the rest came from an impairment on the stake in Kraft Foods.

HSBC Costs Rise on New Hires and Customer Compensation (Bloomberg)
Costs as a proportion of income rose to 60.9 percent from 49.6 percent, the London-based bank said today in a statement. Net income rose 58 percent to $4.15 billion compared with $2.63 billion in the year-earlier period, the bank said in its first detailed quarterly earnings report. The shares fell.

U.S. gas prices hit $4 a gallon, but may retreat (Reuters)
The national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gas was $4 per gallon on May 6, up 11.98 cents from April 22, according to the nationwide Lundberg Survey. This was still below the all-time high of $4.11 on July, 11, 2008, and last week’s fall in crude oil prices may lead to a 8- to 12-cent drop in prices at the pump over the next few weeks, according to Trilby Lundberg, the survey’s editor.

Sweep is an ugly ending for Lakers and a bittersweet one for Phil Jackson (LA Times)
The Mavericks’ 122-86 blowout victory in Game 4, which completed their 4-0 sweep of the Western Conference semifinal series, perhaps came at the right time for the Lakers. They appeared to be teetering, perhaps because this was the 77th postseason game they had played since 2008, nearly an extra 82-game regular season in a four-year span. “I was talking to Kobe [after the game] and we both agreed it was better to lose now than to get to the [NBA] Finals and lose,” Jackson said. “Going all the way and losing in the Finals, now that’s really tough.”

What was in medicine chests at bin Laden compound? (MSNBC)
Either Osama bin Laden or those who lived with him at the Pakistan compound where he was killed apparently suffered from stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and nerve pain — plus the normal ailments that affect a family with children, according to a pharmacist’s analysis of medications reportedly found at the site. In addition, the medicine cache was said to contain Avena syrup, a botanical product that has at least two uses: as an artificial sweetener often used for a sour stomach and as “natural Viagra” that could be used to increase sexual desire and potency.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Mandy Drury Is Not Afraid Of Snakes

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Earlier this week, a cobra escaped from the Bronx Zoo. With a snake on the loose in NYC, was CNBC anchor Mandy Drury ever “afraid it would make its way” to her apartment? Not in the least, she told a co-worker, who interviewed her at her desk about the situation earlier today.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Apple: iPad 2 Stock-Outs Overseas, Says AllThingsD

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AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski this morning reports shortages and stock-outs of Apple’s (AAPL) iPad 2 have spread around the world since the device went on sale in additional countries this weekend.

Reports are coming in from Canada, Germany, Australia, Britain and elsewhere, following long lines this weekend.

Apple shares today are up $2.19, or 0.6%, at $353.73.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Apple: Piper Sees Rising iPad 2 Demand, Improved Supply

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Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster this morning reiterates an Overweight rating on shares of Apple (AAPL) and a $483 price target, noting that today is the day the iPad 2 goes on sale in an additional 25 countries.

Munster writes that “long lead times at Apple’s store suggest strong demand worldwide,” and that overseas demand seems to be ramping up, with lead times for orders from Australia going to three to four weeks from two to three weeks overnight.

But the lead times in the U.S. have actually improved, leading him to conclude that, “supply is improving and concerns about Japanese components may be overblown.”

Munster now thinks his 5.5 million unit iPad 2 estimate for the March quarter may be too low.

Apple shares today are up $5.15, or 1.5%, at $350.12.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Opening Bell: 03.17.11

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BofA, Citi, UBS In LIBOR Probe (WSJ)
The investigation has been underway for at least a year. Last fall, regulators sent formal requests for information to the 16 banks that at the time were on the so-called Libor panel. The panel last month expanded the investigation to include 20 banks. More recently, the SEC has sent subpoenas to several banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup and UBS, the people said. The agency also has summoned officials from those three banks to testify to investigators as part of the probe. It isn’t clear how many other banks have received subpoenas or been asked to testify.

BoJ Injects Another 5 Trillion ($61 Billion) Yen To Calm The Market (Reuters)
That came on top of a total of 28 trillion yen already offered in same-day operations this week in the aftermath of last Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Japan Churns Through ‘Heroic’ Workers Hitting Radiation Limits (Bloomberg)
More workers were drafted for the frontline of Japan’s biggest nuclear disaster as radiation limits forced Tokyo Electric Power Co. to replace members of its original team trying to avert a nuclear meltdown. The utility increased its workforce at the Fukushima Dai- Ichi plant to 322 today from 180 yesterday as it tried to douse water over exposed nuclear fuel rods to prevent melting and leaking lethal radiation. Levels beside the exposed rods would deliver a fatal dose in 16 seconds, said David Lochbaum, a nuclear physicist for the Union of Concerned Scientists and a former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety instructor.

Groupon Is Said To Discuss IPO Valuation Of Up To $25 Billion (Bloomberg)
The two-year-old startup’s IPO may happen this year and is unlikely to assign Groupon a valuation of less than $15 billion, according to people.

U.S. Plans Japan Airlift as Authorities Battle Reactor Leaks (Bloomberg)
The U.S. plans to airlift citizens from Japan along with military and diplomatic families, reflecting widening skepticism that the authorities can contain leaks from the quake-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. The U.S., U.K. and Australia raised their alert levels, telling nationals to keep at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) away from the Dai-Ichi facility. Blackstone Group LP and BNP Paribas SA were among companies that shifted operations from Tokyo, which lies about 135 miles to the south.

Inflation Keeps Edging Up; Jobless Claims Take Dip (Reuters)
New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell as expected last week, with the four-week moving average dropping to its lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years, pointing to a strengthening labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 385,000, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 387,000. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 401,000 from the previously reported 397,000.

The Snooze Moment In The Galleon Trial (Dealbook)
At about 12:18 p.m., Juror No. 18, an alternate, started the patented juror head-bob as he began to doze off during a slow part of the testimony. Within minutes, he was in a full-on midday snooze.

Diet Coke Beats Pepsi (WSJ)
U.S. sales of Diet Coke overtook those of Pepsi-Cola for the first time in 2010, making the diet soda the No. 2 carbonated soft drink in the country behind Coca-Cola, industry data are expected to confirm Thursday. Occupying the top two rankings would mark a historic win for Coca-Cola Co. in its decades-old rivalry with PepsiCo Inc., which has seen its market share slip in recent years and is trying to retool its marketing.

FDIC’s Tab For Failed Banks Nears $8 Billion (WSJ)
As of Jan. 31, the latest month for which figures are available, the FDIC has paid out $8.89 billion to banks under the loss-share agreements. Such deals are in place at 236 financial institutions, with the FDIC agreeing to assume most future losses on $160 billion of assets.

Japan Uses Helicopters, Water Cannons, Troops to Quell Meltdown (Bloomberg)
Helicopters doused 30 metric tons of water on pools used to cool spent fuel rods. No change in radiation was reported after four bombing runs by the aircraft, Kyodo News said citing plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. A plan to have police shoot a high-pressure stream of water at the reactor structure was called off tonight. Tokyo Electric has connected a power cable to the plant, Kyodo reported. “We are still reviewing the result of water spraying by helicopters,” said Akiteru Kobayashi, head of nuclear facility management.

Berlusconi: I’m Too Old For Sex With 33 Women (AP)
“Even though I am a little mischievous … 33 girls in two months seems like too much even for a 30 year old,” the premier said in an interview published Wednesday in La Repubblica, a leftist newspaper that has led a campaign for his resignation in the wake of the scandal. “It’s too much for anybody,” Berlusconi is quoted as saying. He insisted he has a girlfriend, whose identity is secret, who was always with him and would not have allowed what the prosecutors allege. “She would have ripped my eyes out,” he said.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Trina Jumps 6% On Blow-Out Q4

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Continuing the strong streak for solar technology vendors, shares of Trina Solar (TSL) are up $1.74, or 6%, at $31.15, after the company this morning reported Q4 revenue and earnings that blew away estimates, and said it would increase its in-house capacity for production of wafers and solar cells and modules.

Q4 Solar module shipmens rose 21% from Q3, to 351 megawatts, and more than doubled year-over-year, the company said, beating its own forecast of 300 megawatts. Revenue rose 105%, year over year, to $642 million, beating the average $525 million estimate, yielding EPS of $1.87, a full 78 cents above the average estimate.

Gross profit as a percentage of sales also exceeded the company’s expectations, at 31%, versus 30% expected.

CEO Jifan Gao, saying he was pleased with the results, remarked that, “In a year of industry-wide ASP declines which made PV systems more affordable, our shipment volume and revenue more than doubled year over year and we continued to increase margins. Our growth in 2010 demonstrates the successful execution of our strategy to expand sales across distribution segments and geographic end markets in North America and other exciting PV markets such as India, Australia and China.”

For 2011, the company expects non-silicon cost of manufacturing to decline by 4 cents, to 70 cents per watt. “To meet expected demand for its PV solar modules, the Company expects to raise its annualized in-house ingot and wafer production capacity, as well as PV cell and module production capacity to reach approximately 1.2 GW and 1.9 GW, respectively, in the second half of 2011, based on actual manufacturing yield,” the company said.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Tourre Attorney: LEAVE FAB ALONE!

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuit against Fabrice Tourre should be thrown out, lawyers for the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. trader accused of misleading investors in a product linked to subprime mortgages told a federal judge. Andrew Rhys Davies, Tourre’s lawyer, said yesterday that the SEC is trying to circumvent a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued in June, Morrison v. National Australia Bank, that limits the reach of civil claims for acts occurring outside the U.S. “The SEC is attempting to do an end run around Morrison,” Rhys Davies told U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones in Manhattan. [Bloomberg]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Lap Dancer HSBC Analyst Went To Jail For Speaks

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A couple weeks ago, we met Toby Carroll, a New Zealand-born real estate analyst for HSBC currently stationed in Dubai, who’d spent the last two months in prison. Carroll had ended up there after his ex-girlfriend, Priscilla Ferreira, found him and a new girl, Danielle Spencer, in his apartment and proceeded to start slashing curtains, furniture, etc, and go after the Danielle with a knife. The police were called and all three were put in jail.

Carroll has since been freed but faces charges of “sex outside marriage.” Last week his ex spoke, denying reports she had been dumped by Carroll a day before she caught him in bed with Spencer, and claiming they were going to get married. Today Spencer, who “lapdanced her way across the USA and Australia” before relocating to Abu Dhabi where she found work “in the property business,” has been good enough to add yet more color to the story. The new details include the fact that she was on her second and not first date with Toby when she went back to his place for “coffee,” a vivid description of being splayed out on her stomach when Priscilla jumped on top of her and why she didn’t fight back.

Spencer and Carroll met and exchanged phone numbers at a party shortly before Christmas. Soon afterwards Carroll, a New Zealander, took Danielle to the Yacht Club. She recalls: ‘The evening had been wonderful, we’d been out to dinner and talked about our lives in Dubai. We had a lot in common. He was smoking-hot, charming, intelligent, had a good job and a top-of-the-range Porsche. He was quite a catch.’

He invited Danielle back to his apartment for coffee and within a few short minutes they were in a passionate clinch on the sofa. They made their way into his bedroom.

Okay, and then what happened?

Danielle says: ‘I saw this white floaty garment and heard a loud Latino voice. I thought the TV had come on. Suddenly I felt someone land on my back and grab my hair. Toby yelled, “Stop it Priscila. What are you doing?”

Did you fight back? And if not, why not?

“I didn’t move, because I had just paid £250 for hair extensions and I didn’t want them falling out two days before Christmas.”

From Lap Dancer To Yacht Seller To Bust [Emirates via BI]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker