Tag Archives: Monaco

December 10th Births in Monaco: Monaco joy as twins are born

After great anticipation and excitement the royal twins  in Monaco have arrived, with Princess Gabriella born at 5:04 PM on December 10, quickly followed two minutes later by her brother Jacques, who is now first in line to the throne, with his sister second. The Princely palace were pleased to announce that the twins and Princess Charlene are all doing well. The births took place at the maternity unit of the Princess Grace Hospital Monaco. The Prince Jacques, Honoré, Rainier, to give him his full name, is the Crown Prince. In accordance with the historic custom established by the treaty of Péronne in 1641, he shall receive the title of Marquis of Baux. The Princess Gabriella, Thérèse, Marie, second child in the line of succession, shall receive the title of Countess of Carladès. Cannons were fired, yacht horns sounded, cathedral bells rang, and people celebrated outside the palace as the news was announced.

Monaco’s Princess Charlene had a girl first and a boy second, but the boy will be the principality’s future ruler, reflecting the male priority of Monaco’s laws of succession.

The royal twins Gabriella Therese Marie and Jacques Honore Rainier born to Charlene, 36, and Prince Albert II, 56  are heirs to the centuries-old Grimaldi dynasty that rules the wealthy principality.

Monaco is a two-square kilometer (0.8 square mile) enclave of ritzy apartments and luxury shops on the French Riviera with a population of around 30,000.

Albert, son of the late and famous American actress Princess Grace (Grace Kelly) , had some subjects worried by his long bachelorhood and his lack of an heir since his two previous children were born out of wedlock and are not eligible for the throne. Then the prince married Charlene Wittstock, a Zimbabwe-born, South Africa-raised former Olympic swimmer, in 2011.

Now the tiny royal state on the Riviera has two reasons to rejoice.

“This is going to create an immense joy. Immense!” said Monaco resident Isabelle Roux. “They are awaited like the messiah. … Everyone is talking only about that.”

“Two babies for the price of one. I think it’s very good for the image,” said Adelaide de Clermont-Tonnerre, editor-in-chief of the celebrity weekly Point de Vue. “With twins, there’s always an extra interest.”

Only one woman has ever reigned over Monaco, Princess Louise-Hippolyte, but she died months after assuming the throne in 1731.

In 2002, with no heirs in sight, Monaco’s parliament quietly changed its constitution to allow royal power to pass from a reigning prince with no descendants to his siblings ? potentially Albert’s two sisters. That ensured the continuation of the Grimaldi dynasty, one of the oldest royal houses in Europe, even if Albert never produced an heir.

 

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Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco

By palace decree 42 cannon shots were fired to announce Wednesday’s births, instead of the 21 that would boom for a single baby.

 

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Charlene’s pregnancy was announced on May 30, and it was later revealed in September that she was expecting not one, but two new heirs to the crown.

Though these are the princely couple’s first children, Albert has had several children with different women out of wedlock. He has publicly recognized two other children.

The gender of the twins had been kept a secret – even from their father – during Charlene’s pregnancy.

But Prince Albert – whose late mother was the Hollywood superstar Grace Kelly – had earlier said that if the twin were a boy and a girl, it would be the boy who would succeed him.

Prince Albert succeeded his father, Prince Rainier, in 2005.

He had a daughter, Jazmin, 22, after a fling with former waitress Tamara Rotolo. He denied being her father for years before DNA tests proved otherwise when she was a teenager.

The prince also has a younger son, Alexandre Coste, 11, from an affair with Nicole Coste, a former Air France hostess.

Under Monaco’s inheritance laws, neither of them have any claim to royal titles or to be considered as heirs to Prince Albert because they were born outside of marriage.

They do however have legal rights to a share of his huge personal fortune, estimated by Forbes magazine to exceed $1 billion.
The Grimaldi Family once had an even larger presence in the French Riviera. Their “empire” once extended even more: West to Antibes, East to Menton, where they operated “toll booths” between what is now France and Italy, North into the Mercantour. But the “ROCK” of Monaco has survived to this day.
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Pastor Murder In Nice

Here are the latest news clips from the murders of Helene Pastor and her chauffeur outside a Nice hospital in May.

June 21, 2014

Around twenty people were arrested late yesterday afternoon by police investigating the murders of Helene Pastor and her chauffeur outside a Nice hospital in May. Two of the arrested are believed to be Mme Pastor’s daughter Sylvia and her son-in-law Wojciech Ratkowski, the Polish consul in Monaco. Further arrests were made in Nice, Marseille and Rennes, with the presumed killers of Comoran origin.
June 25, 2014
23 people have now been arrested in connection with the murders of Helène Pastor and her chauffeur in early May. It is thought that her daughter Sylvia is only in custody to help police with their enquiries, but they are looking at irregular movements of money between Mme Pastor’s bank accounts and those of her son-in-law Wojciech Radowski, who is also in custody.
June 26, 2014
Wojciech Janowski, the son-in-law of billionaire Hélène Pastor, has admitted to ordering the murder of the wealthy Monaco businesswoman and her chauffeur in May. Faced with suspicious movements on his bank account and discriminating statements by alleged accomplices, it appears Janowski was backed into a corner.

The 64-year-old is the husband of Hélène Pastor’s daughter, Sylvia Ratkowski-Pastor. After a number of days in police custody, Janowski confessed to his part in ordering the murder of his mother-in-law as well her chauffeur Mohamed Darwich, to “avoid making it obvious that the heiress was the only target”, reports the AFP.

The former honorary consulate of Poland, who was stripped of his status when news of his arrest broke, has been under arrest since Monday 23rd June.

Janowski’s personal trainer, who has not yet been named, is believed to have been the middleman for his employer, allegedly hiring the gunmen who carried out the attack, as well as negotiating the price of the contract – around €140,000, according to RTL.

This morning both men, as well as the two suspected gunmen, were brought from the Auvare police station in Nice to the courts of Marseille, where they will stand before a judge this afternoon.

Sylvia Ratkowski-Pastor was arrested on Monday along with 20 other people. She was released on 25th June as authorities confirmed that she had been held only to help police with their investigation.

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, as well as the interregional director of the Police Judiciaire (PJ) in Marseille, Christian Sainte, and the head of Nice’s branch of the PJ, Philippe Frizon, will hold a press conference at 5pm today to give further details on the developments of the double murder investigation.

Speculation as to a motive revolves largely around the reported reduction in allowance of €500,000 per month which Madame Pastor gave to her children. However, Robin has refused to confirm anything, telling the AFP that “at the moment, it’s too early to think about motives.”

June 27, 2014
Sylvia Pastor has been released without charge as the investigation in to the killing of her mother continues, and she followed another ten of the 23 arrested who were released on Tuesday.
Her partner Wojciech Radowski and a gendarme from the Bouches du Rhone are among those still in custody.
June 30, 2014
The son in law of Helene Pastor who’s being held in custody in connection with her murder has refused to speak to the judge investigating the case. Wojciech Janowski is being held  in Marseille. Reports last week said that he’d confessed to organising the shooting of Helene Pastor and her chauffeur outside a Nice hospital on the 6th of May with the aid of his private fitness coach. A total of 7 people are still being held in custody in connection with the affair. Madame Pastor, who was 77 died from the injuries she sustained in the shooting on the 21st of May. Her chauffeur also died. Janowski is due to appear before a judge again on Wednesday.
July 3, 2014
The son in law of Helene Pastor has withdrawn a confession in which he’s reported to have told police that he organised her murder. Wojciech Janowski appeared before a judge in Marseilles on Wednesday. His lawyer now says that he absolutely denies that he had anything to do with the murder of his mother in law. Helene Pastor and her chauffeur Mohamed Darwich were shot inside their car outside a Nice hospital on May the 6th. Both later died from their injuries. 7 people are still being held in custody in connection with the murders.
Wojciech Janowski, the man accused of ordering the murder of Monaco billionaire Hélène Pastor, has retracted his confession, says his lawyer. Apparently, the Polish national didn’t understand the French “nuances” used by investigators, despite living in the Principality for almost 30 years.

Appearing before a bail judge on Wednesday 2nd July, Janowski reportedly “recanted his statements made while in custody,” said his lawyer Erick Campana. He also “denies having ordered” the killing of 77-year-old Hélène Pastor on 6th May.

Janowski, husband of Sylvia Pastor for 28 years, “misunderstood the meaning of the words used by the police,” argued his defense lawyer. “He spoke French, but he did not understand all the nuances of our language.”

Late last week, prosecutors revealed that the former honorary consul of Poland had admitted to investigators that he was the “sponsor” of the double murder of his mother-in-law and her driver, 64-year-old Mohammed Darwich, who were both targeted at the l’Archet Hospital in Nice. It was also confirmed that Janowski had confessed that his personal trainer hired the two men who carried out the attack, both of whom have been arrested and charged.

Campana had asked the court to release Janowski and dismiss the statements he made while in custody because he did not have access to a lawyer or interpreter during his 96 hours of interrogation. But the judge did not agree.

“Not surprisingly, he can be kept in custody for a period of one year,” said the defense lawyer. “In a year, at the most, the judge will revisit his case.”

Wojciech Janowski will remain at the Baumettes prison “in total isolation”, according to Campana, who added that his client is in good physical health but “not well at all.”
 As of October 2014,

The lawyer of Wojciech Janowski, under investigation since June in the Helène Pastor murder case, has asked for his client’s case to be thrown out and for Mr Janowski to be freed. Erick Campana claims that his client’s initial incarceration in Nice was laced with irregularities and that he had no legal representation or interpreter.

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Monaco Grand Prix Historique

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From Friday May the 9th to Sunday May the 11th, the excitement of Historic Car Racing returns to the streets of the Principality for the 9th ‘Monaco Grand Prix Historique’.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the most beautiful Historic Racing Cars in 7 action-packed races, featuring Bugattis from the Twenties up to Formula One cars from the Seventies and Eighties. World Champions Alain Prost and Damon Hill are returning with Jean-Pierre Jabouille to demonstrate the powerful Renault F1 Turbos.

Go to acm.mc for event information and to get your tickets from just 20 Euros

The Historic Grand Prix of Monaco exists since 1997. It’s organised 2 weeks before the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco.

It takes place on the same circuit as the Formula 1 Grand Prix with the charming old cars that propose a travel back in time.

Organised every two years by the Automobile Club of Monaco (ACM), it’s a success for the spectators that come more and more each year.

Cars are distributed into 7 races for the 9th edition of the Grand Prix Historique :

Series A : Pre-war “Voiturettes” and Grand-Prix Cars, from 1939 maximum

Series B : Formula 1 and Formula 2 Grand Prix Cars, manufactured before 1961

Series C : Sports Cars that ran from 1952 to 1955 (included)

Series D : F1 Grand Prix Cars ? 1500cc, from 1961 to 1965 (included)

Series E : F1 Grand Prix Cars ? from 1966 to 1972 (included)

Series F : F1 Grand Prix Cars ? from 1973 to 1978 included)

Series G : Formula 3 Cars, 2 liters – from 1974 to 1978 included)

 

Can’t get there? Check out some historic photos from Riviera Radio 106.5 FM

Drones All Over The Place

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In December, we talked about Amazon’s Drone Delivery System: What It’s All About

Also in December we talked about how Regional Shippers Pose New Threat to UPS, FedEx

We mentioned again the Amazon drone

While Amazon is piloting drone aircraft for package deliveries. A number of firms, especially in Europe, are working hard on the concept of driverless trucks.

So it shouldn’t really be any surprise that work is now also being on unmanned cargo and container ships as well.

News came out this week that Rolls Royce has been working on such a concept since late 2013. The research work is being performed under a project it calls Blue Ocean, and it has already created virtual-reality prototype at its research center in Alesund, Norway, that simulates 360-degree views from a vessel’s bridge.

Rolls Royce’s efforts are connecting to something called the Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks (MUNIN). The program is co-funded by the European Commissions and aims to develop and verify a concept for an autonomous ship, which is defined as a vessel primarily guided by automated on-board decision systems but controlled by a remote operator in a shore side control station.

MUNIN is a consortium of eight partners that have the relevant scientific and industrial background. The group is studying the operational, technical and legal aspects in connection with the vision of an autonomous ship.

Its web site says that “Solutions for an autonomous bridge, an autonomous engine room, a shore side operation center and the communication architecture linking vessel and a shore operator will be developed and verified” as a result of the program.

It hopes to develop a prototype ship that can be sailed by the end of 2015.

Of course, reducing operating costs is one big driver of the research. Ship crews can cost more than $3000 per day, and represent some 45% of total variable operating costs, industry experts say. Drone ships would dramatically reduce those labor costs.

Rolls Royce says that in addition to the labor savings, drone ships would be safer and more environmentally friendly.

Company drawings for the new ships show vessels loaded with containers from front to back, without the need for a “bridge” structure where the crew normally lives. Eliminating the bridge and all the other systems that support the crew (electrical systems, air conditioning, water and sewage, etc.) leaves more room for cargo or containers. Rolls Royce estimates that the ships would be 5% lighter before loading cargo and would use 12-15% less fuel.

Bloomberg notes the company’s Oskar Levander, vice president of innovation in marine engineering and technology, believes the unmanned ships might be deployed in regions such as the Baltic Sea within a decade, but that regulatory hurdles combined with industry and union pushback relative to safety and other issues will slow global adoption.

Unmanned ships wouldn’t even be legal currently, since there are standards in place for the minimum amount of crew different types of ships must carry. Organizations such as the International Maritime Organization, a group that is part of the UN, and others are involved in maintaining and potentially changing those standards. If a ship did not comply with existing crew standards, it would not be able to obtain insurance, and thus would not be able to sale.

It is not just big drones, but Monaco has small ones: Weevil drones – Weevil is in the trees, the palm trees that is. The French Riviera’s canarian palm trees are under attack from red weevils, which were first found as parasites in 2012 above the Jardin Exotique in Monaco. It transpired that Monaco was one of the last place to be invaded by the little red blighters with Cannes, Antibes, Nice and Cap d’Ail already affected. But the fightback is underway. The drones are coming. Monaco has an air force, and it’s spraying Monaco’s 276 canarian palms with an organic spray made out of mushrooms, which is evil for weevils, but nothing else. 

Now for some late-breaking stuff:

Facebook Inc is in talks to buy drone maker Titan Aerospace for $60 million, according to media reports.

The high-flying drones would give Facebook, the world’s No.1 Internet social network, the ability to beam wireless Internet access to consumers in undeveloped parts of the world, according to the technology blog TechCrunch, which first reported the deal late on Monday citing an anonymous source.

The effort would help advance Facebook’s Internet.org effort, which aims to connect billions of people who do not currently have Internet access.

Facebook declined to comment. Titan Aerospace did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Titan is developing a variety of solar-powered “atmospheric satellites” according to the company’s website, with initial commercial operations slated for 2015.