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Singapore expat jobs under threat in recession, local hire push

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/singapore-expat-jobs-under-threat-in-recession-local-hire-push
Singapore has long been the city of choice for Western expats wanting an easy entree into Asia. Clean, efficient, with low tax rates, it's often seen as rivalling Hong Kong, especially with that city hit by street protests and unrest over China's new national security law.
Yet just when Singapore should be a magnet for global talent, some recruiters say the barriers to entry are mounting. The city is facing the worst recession in its history, forcing a rethink for some firms on expansion and hiring plans. Alongside soaring unemployment has come a spike in rhetoric against foreigners, seen by some Singaporeans as taking jobs from locals.
An experienced nurse from New Zealand is finding out how tough it can be. She seemed, on paper at least, the ideal expat - arriving with her partner right before Covid-19. But 11 months and over 200 failed applications later, she says she's on the verge of going home, unable to land a work pass.
She was told by companies that they have a quota and the quota is met, she said, asking not to be identified for fear of jeopardising her partner's work permit. When attempts to volunteer at hospitals were similarly rejected, she said she felt like she didn't belong.
The uncertain job prospects, online commentary and stricter conditions risk making Singapore a less welcoming destination just as the city-state needs foreign investment the most. And as workplaces clamp down on hiring it could further limit the options for expats who have long seen a stint in Asia as an important and lucrative experience.
The Singapore government has added to their angst by taking steps to promote local hiring, raising concern that it will come at the expense of expats. Earlier this month, it put 47 companies on a watch list for suspected discriminatory hiring practices. The list includes banks, fund managers and consulting firms that may have pre-selected foreigners for jobs or not given Singaporeans a fair chance. This adds to the 240 companies already under scrutiny. The names of the firms weren't disclosed.
And in May, it tightened the framework that governs employment passes for foreigners, increasing the minimum monthly salary to S$3,900 and further expanding rules requiring employers to advertise job openings to locals first. The government said on Wednesday it plans to raise that salary threshold further.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a contraction in the number of visas issued because the demand for foreigners is going to be less" in the near term, said Hays regional director for Singapore Grant Torrens, citing the sharp contraction as the main driver.
The role of foreign workers became a key election issue this year, with several opposition candidates campaigning on claims that overseas talent is taking local jobs. The Workers' Party, which clinched more seats than ever, published a manifesto that included tightening employment pass approvals.
"The only reason we have foreigners here is to give an extra wind in our sails when the opportunity is there," Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said in a televised election debate in July. "Now we are in a storm, and we need to shed ballast." Dr Balakrishnan's office said in response to Bloomberg queries on the comment that there will be a disproportionate impact on the foreign workforce in a downturn.
Foreign workers on employment passes - the sort issued to highly skilled workers as opposed to work permits for blue-collar jobs - typically comprise around 5 per cent of the total workforce. Yet among top managers and professionals in some key sectors, the ratio of foreigners can be much higher. Non-Singaporeans made up 57 per cent of senior management roles across the financial services sector, the government said in August.
Andrew Zee, team lead for financial services at Selby Jennings, said some of his job candidates were recently denied permits - a first for him in more than four years - though they were later approved on appeal.
Sirva Inc, which owns Allied Pickfords, said inquiries from people wanting to move to Singapore in the first seven months of the year were down 23 per cent from the same period in 2019, according to Amanda Jones, senior vice-president of sales and account management. Ms Jones doesn't expect to see expat executives coming to Singapore at pre-Covid numbers until 2022 at best, especially given travel curbs and the recession.
EXPATS LEAVING
The shift is starting to be felt in the real estate market. Ella Sherman, an associate executive sales director at Knight Frank in Singapore who specialises in expat housing, says she normally signs about four rental agreements a month this time of year. Now she's lucky to secure one, and knows of several clients heading home.
Beyond the economic woes and the pandemic lies an unease over foreigners in the country of just 5.7 million people. This has surfaced in public calls, often on social media, for more hiring of locals. When a Facebook post targeting foreign executives at US$215 billion investment giant Temasek Holdings went viral this month, chief executive officer Ho Ching responded with a post of her own describing it as "a cowardly act of hate". JOB CUTS
Companies are taking pains to describe their efforts to retain Singaporean jobs. When Millennium Hotels and Resorts laid off 159 employees this month, it noted that the move lifted its "core" Singaporean workforce to 69 per cent. After casino operator Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) reportedly cut 2,000 jobs last month, the Ministry of Manpower issued a statement saying the majority of affected workers were foreigners.
"After the retrenchment exercise, RWS has a stronger Singaporean core," the ministry said.
Even expats abroad are feeling the pinch. One worker was overseas and between jobs when the pandemic struck. Though he quickly found a new position, he said his employment pass submission has been rejected several times with no explanation.
He's now stuck in Europe paying rent for his empty home in Singapore, unable to return until his visa gets approved. He declined to be identified for fear of jeopardising his application. He said the rising anti-foreigner rhetoric was equally worrisome.
For some, the social tensions were brought to the fore when a few expats were caught breaching government-imposed lockdowns by drinking and mingling outdoors without masks in May. The incident sparked an ugly debate on social media and prompted a minister to caution against the "visceral reaction" by locals. The offenders were fined and banned from working in Singapore, as were 134 others over May and June.
GREEN CARDS
To be sure, some politicians are urging calm. Singaporeans want assurances that the government will continue to create opportunities and provide fair treatment, but a vast majority "understand that staying open and connected is very important to Singapore", Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on Wednesday.
Singapore isn't alone in fighting for local jobs. US President Donald Trump signed an executive order this month barring federal agencies from replacing citizens or green card holders with foreign workers.
And the city-state's status as a finance hub ensures it will always be magnet for foreign talent. Citadel, the hedge fund run by billionaire Ken Griffin, announced this week it's opening a Singapore office, as did Sun Life Financial, Canada's second-biggest insurer.
ATTRACTIVE HUB
"Singapore remains an attractive destination," said Rahul Sen, the global head of private wealth management at Boyden, an executive search firm. "New businesses that were thinking of setting up in Hong Kong to attract Greater China wealth are thinking of setting up shop in Singapore."
Even so, the avenues for many are narrowing. The nurse from New Zealand has started reaching out to healthcare providers back home. They're eager to hire so she may head back.
"Singapore is an amazing city, and we hoped that if we stayed long enough, things would change," she said. "But the longer it takes, the further away it seems."

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A Deep Dive - Ghislaine Maxwell: Silver Spoons and Hard Times

A Deep Dive - Ghislaine Maxwell: Silver Spoons and Hard Times
This story was published in Frank's Report. Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist. Frank Report is one of the internet’s best destinations for true, unfiltered, hard-hitting journalism run by the acclaimed journalist Frank Parlato.
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Ghislaine Maxwell – Silver Spoons and Hard Times

August 9, 2020
By Paul Serran
https://frankreport.com/2020/08/09/ghislaine-maxwell-silver-spoons-and-hard-times/
http://archive.is/by7md
Ghislaine Maxwell led much of her life under the world’s fascinated microscopic view, always enthralled by her – famous and infamous – as it watched her fortunes wax and wane.
From the celebrated miracle daughter of media tycoon Robert Maxwell; to the broken young woman who fled scandal in the UK to a small New York apartment, trying to launch a new life; the rebirth Jet-set Ghislaine, who was everywhere at once, longtime companion of Jeffrey Epstein, a man even richer and more shady than her father; the sophisticated middle age woman, a runaway alleged criminal trying hard to avoid detection by her pursuers – finally, to the incarcerated, indicted suspected sex trafficker and perjurer.
Ghislaine was Robert and Betty Maxwell’s miracle baby, born on Christmas Day, 1961. Two days after that, their eldest son suffered a fatal car accident.
In 24 hours, it all had been somehow foretold: joy – and then tragedy.
During the Swinging Sixties, Robert Maxwell served two terms as a Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Buckingham. He led a multimillionaire lifestyle, and was the host of star-studded parties at Headington Hill Hall, his baronial fifty-three-room Oxford mansion.
The Maxwells spent a million dollars redecorating the mansion. In a stained glass window scene for the imperial staircase, Israeli sculptor Nehemia Azaz depicted Robert Maxwell as the biblical hero Samson tearing down the gates of Gaza: “a titan of luck, impossible achievement, and unlimited wealth”.
They had the use of chauffeured luxury cars. They traveled the world in Robert’s Gulfstream IV Jet and his sleek 180-foot yacht, named Lady Ghislaine.
“If Bob Maxwell didn’t exist, no one could invent him,” Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock celebrated the bombastic, demanding mogul who dined with kings and presidents and had a bottomless appetite for family, food, fortune, and fame.
The first brush with financial and professional hardship came at a age when young Ghislaine would have been mostly sheltered from it.
In the early seventies, after Robert Maxwell tried similar shenanigans in a failed attempt to swindle the American financier Saul Steinberg, who was interested in a strategic acquisition of Pergamon Press. Steinberg claimed that during negotiations, Maxwell falsely stated that a subsidiary responsible for publishing encyclopedias was extremely profitable.
At the same time, Pergamon had been forced to reduce its profit forecasts for 1969 during the period of negotiations, leading to a suspension of dealing in Pergamon shares on the London stock markets.
It was found that Maxwell had contrived to maximize Pergamon’s share price through transactions between his private family companies. This was a criminal practice he would utilize again in the future.
Inspectors from Britain’s Department of Trade and Industry declared Maxwell unfit to run a public company: “Notwithstanding Mr. Maxwell’s acknowledged abilities and energy, he is not in our opinion a person who can be relied on to exercise proper stewardship of a publicly quoted company.”
‘Captain Bob’ established the Maxwell Foundation in tax haven Liechtenstein, in 1970. By the 1980s he come back roaring, prompted by money later said to have originated in the Soviet Union. He bought the Mirror Group built and a massive media conglomerate.
The good times were on: Ghislaine was nicknamed “The Shopper” because of her wild spending funded by Robert’s millions. He also bankrolled her failed corporate gifts business.
During this period, she reportedly had a VERY close relationship with her father and was widely credited with being her father’s favorite child.
In Oxford, Ghislaine led a student life of wealth and privilege. Her father would send Filipino servants to the college house she shared to clean, arrange the table and cook, in the event of a party.
Her career piggybacked on her father’s businesses. She was made director of the Oxford United, and later, put in charge of “special projects” of the New York Daily News.
With her father’s money, she found her way into society, especially in New York — a haven where she could escape his complete control.
But the good times were not to last. Overextended and over-leveraged, Maxwell’s empire was about to crumble.
At this time, Maxwell reportedly was a regular at London’s casinos, playing three tables at once, even dropping $2.5 million in a single night. For years, he had been an inveterate gambler, but this was the behavior of a desperate man whose time was running out.
“He was a very crude man,” said a female writer for Time magazine. “His polish was not very deep. If you were with him for any length of time, it peeled away. I was in his library in the Maxwell House penthouse—a beautiful apartment with marble and servants all over the place—and while I was admiring his books, his valet said to me, ‘You should see Mr. Maxwell’s collection of pornographic tapes’.”
Ghislaine visited her father in his office before he flew off to Gibraltar. “He was looking for an apartment in New York—a sort of pied-à-terre, where he could talk and have meetings—and he wanted me to help him,” she told Vanity Fair. “He asked me to go see a particular apartment. He said, ‘If you like it, I’ll make time to see it and come to New York.’ ” But the next time Ghislaine saw her father, he was dead.
”Ghislaine is the baby of the family and the one who was closest to her father,” her mother Betty told Vanity Press. ”The whole of Ghislaine’s world has collapsed, and it will be very difficult for her to continue.”
When she finally appeared before the reporters, she had collected herself. “How did your father die?” a journalist shouted at Ghislaine Maxwell. “He did not commit suicide. That was just not consistent with his character. I think he was murdered. ”
Maxwell, it turned out, had debts of nearly $5 billion, and had stolen hundreds of millions from the Mirror Group’s pension funds to shore up his faltering companies. That left 32,000 employees exposed to retirement ruin.
The irony was not lost on the hard-hitting British press: Robert Maxwell, a socialist, stealing hundreds of millions of pounds from the Mirror’s pension fund!
He swindled money from two of his public companies, transferred millions in and out the secret family trusts in Liechtenstein, to manipulate the share price of his Corporation.
Robert was called “rogue,” “crook,” “bully,” “thief,” “megalomaniac,” and “gangster.” The press told lurid tales of his sex orgies with midget Filipino hookers.
He was seen as a 310-pound aberration gorging on spoonfuls of caviar. An erratic and cruel tyrant who used Turkish towels for toilet paper. Journalists wrote that he was a spy for the K.G.B. or Mossad or Czech intelligence—or all three.
“My daughter Ghislaine has no money, no trusts, no funds anywhere.” her mother Betty told Vanity Fair. “Neither of [my children] had any money. Their father never gave them any money.”
Their assets were frozen. His son Kevin’s house was put up for sale, as were the Lady Ghislaine and the Gulfstream IV Jet. Their passports were seized.
A friend told The Times of London, “[Ghislaine] had always been the life and soul of the party wherever she wanted to go in the world and never had to worry about money.” Now she was the broken child of a monster, his name forever synonymous to scandal. “She was catatonic,” the friend said.
Forced to vacate her huge company-provided residence, she moved into a small apartment. When a friend came to visit, Ghislaine told her, “They took everything—everything—even the cutlery.”
Little did she know how many more times things in her life would shift from silver spoons to hard times. A woman brought up in luxury, she had everything taken from her, before she came to the United States to begin again.
“He wasn’t a crook,” Ghislaine told Vanity Press. “A thief to me is somebody who steals money. (…) Did he put it in his own pocket? Did he run off with the money? No. And that’s my definition of a crook.”
“I’m surviving—just,” she said. “But I can’t just die quietly in a comer. I have to believe that something good will come out of this mess. It’s sad for my mother. It’s sad to have lost my dad. It’s sad for my brothers. But I would say we’ll be back. Watch this space.”
Ghislaine Maxwell was also being hunted by the tabloids. The Maxwell name was so detested in London that she is said to have had to walk around in a blond wig so people wouldn’t recognize her.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s reinvention didn’t take long. Maxwell moved to the United States just after her father’s death. Her photograph boarding a Concorde to cross the Atlantic caused outrage – her father had just defrauded pensioners out of 750 Million Sterling Pounds.
According to the Mail on Sunday: “Unnoticed by almost everybody, traveling with her was a greying, plumpish, middle-aged American businessman who managed to avoid the photographers. It is to this man that 30-year-old Ghislaine has turned to ease the heartache of her father’s shame.”
“His name is Jeffrey Epstein.”
“Whose house is this, Ghislaine?” a friend asked her in the early 1990’s. “Who lives here?”
My friend,” Maxwell replied.
“Well, is he banging you?” the friend demanded. “What’s the scoop here?”
A trust fund is said to have provided her with an income of $145,000 a year. A far cry from her previous seemingly unending wealth. She “never, ever had any cash. Lots of credit, of course, but no cash”, one friend recalled to the press.
And yet, she lived the high life. She was known in New York as the “female Gatsby” for her lavish entertaining. Had a “reputation for being charming and funny, and a glittering lifestyle straight out of the pages of a society magazine”.
She was now “far from the ever watchful eye of the British press,” Hello! magazine wrote in 1997.
“She is proud of the fact that her new life is all down to her own hard work and has her elegant apartment to show for it,” the magazine mistakenly added. One day, she would “get married and have kids. But it has never been a focus: My focus is my business.”
Ghislaine’s presence added more fuel to the question: “How did Jeffrey Epstein amass his fortune?” For one of the most propagated theories is that Maxwell’s father Robert bankrolled him with funds hidden from the UK authorities.
Jeffrey Epstein built a 21,000-square-foot mansion on a massive ranch in New Mexico, which – he boasted – made his New York townhouse “look like a shack”. He named it the Zorro Ranch. He also acquired a 72-acre island in the Virgin Islands and an 8,600-square-foot home in Paris, with a specially built massage room.
She had found a path back to the lifestyle she’d lost when her father died. “She was used to living very well,” says a friend who knew her then. “She didn’t want to go back to where she was.” All she had to do to keep it was to give ‘the monster’ what he wanted.
Maxwell was expected to drop everything to serve Epstein.
She had to keep everyone in line, because one misstep would unleash the wrath of Epstein, one of the few people who could make Maxwell cry. “He would be screaming over the phone,” recalled an Epstein victim, “and she would burst into tears.”
The New York townhouse became a social nexus; guests could have included members of the Kennedy and Rockefeller clans, “along with the requisite sprinkling of countesses and billionaires,” according to The Times of London.
She was “a modern-day geisha” in a “domain filled with the richest people in the planet. “It’s a world frequented by young half-naked girls in bikinis, billionaires and lavish lifestyles, but it borders on the grotesque. You are never really sure what is going on behind closed doors.”
Royalty was specially prized, which is why her friendship with Prince Andrew became so treasured. In 2000, Maxwell and Epstein attended a Prince Andrew’s party at the Queen’s Sandringham House estate in Norfolk, England. It has been reported that the event was in honor of Maxwell’s 39th birthday.
And yet, Ghislaine began trying to distance herself from Epstein long before he went to jail. In the early 2000s, she hooked up in California with a man much richer than Epstein: Ted Waitt.
Waitt lived in a seven-bedroom, 14-bath mansion in La Jolla, sailed the world aboard a 240-foot mega-yacht, the Plan B. It was equipped with a helipad, Jacuzzi, elevator, gym, and HAD AN ONBOARD SUBMARINE, which Maxwell soon was licensed to pilot.
After Epstein went to prison in Florida for a short period, Maxwell saw the silver spoons turned into hard times again.
Acquaintances that crossed her path reported how she was almost unrecognizable. She was not stylish and attention grabbing anymore, seemed determined to go unnoticed. Her face had no makeup. There was a hint of gray in her black hair, she put on some weight.
“I was so shocked by her look,” a friend recalled to the British press. “I didn’t recognize her.”
She even gave up her once proud name, sometimes introducing herself to new acquaintances only as “G.”
“Where are you living, Ghislaine?” the friend asked. “I lost touch with you.” Maxwell suddenly went blank. “Oh,” she replied, “a little bit everywhere.”
December 2014: Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a motion in the Southern District of Florida describing Maxwell as Epstein’s “primary coconspirator and participant in his sexual abuse and sex trafficking scheme.”
Maxwell made a huge mistake, issuing an “urgent” statement to the media dismissing the claims as “obvious lies.” That allowed Giuffre, to sue Maxwell for defamation in federal court in New York, a lawsuit “widely viewed as a vessel for Epstein’s victims to expose the scope of Epstein’s crimes,” according to the Miami Herald.
Maxwell affirmed her innocence with fury, at one point of her testimony banging her fists on the table. She also, according to charges filed by the DOJ SDNY, committed two counts of perjury.
2019: when the SDNY reopened the criminal investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine was far away, living the high life.
She met with her friend Prince Andrew in Buckingham Palace, and participated in “Cash & Rocket”, an annual charity road rally. Between races of the rally, she joined the super rich in attending a Masquerade Ball in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as a White dinner at La Reserve in Geneva and the Red party at the Yacht Club de Monaco.
Those were to be her last reported events. Cash & Rocket scrub Maxwell’s photo from its website once Epstein was arrested and the scandal assaulted the headlines again.
On July 6, 2019, Epstein was arrested by federal agents at Teterboro Airport, arriving from Paris. The FBI raided his mansion, and charged him with sex trafficking of minors.
“Epstein’s pimp girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, a very well-connected Brit socialite cannot just walk free,” actress Ellen Barking tweeted the day after Epstein’s arrest. “This woman is his pimp. She pilots planes [sic] to and from the island. I know because she told me.”
Maxwell again went into hiding, unreachable during legal proceedings. It surfaced in December 2019 that Maxwell was among the people under FBI investigation for facilitating Epstein’s crimes.
She was faced with a tabloid frenzy even bigger than the one that accompanied the death of her father. She again uprooted herself and tried to start over in Manchester-by-the-Sea, a quiet village 30 miles north of Boston, she lived for a time in the $3 million, five-bedroom colonial home of Scott Borgerson, CEO of CargoMetrics, a hedge fund investment company involved in maritime data analytics.
Since Epstein was found dead in jail, last August, she is reported to have moved 36 times, out of fear for her safety. Credible Death threats arrived by social media, email, phone, text, and postal service. It began in earnest with Epstein’s arrest, multiplied with his death, and accelerated in the months that followed. They soon became a routine part of her life.
She hired a professional security firm, with operatives that are veterans of intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
This photoshopped photo of Maxwell surfaced last year to mislead the public into thinking she was in Los Angeles. Frank Report was the first to report the photo a fake, a story that went viral.
“Where in the world was Ghislaine Maxwell? Everyone, it seemed, had a theory, each wilder than the last. She was said to be hiding deep beneath the sea in a submarine, which she was licensed to pilot. Or she was lying low in Israel, under the protection of the Mossad, the powerful intelligence agency with whom her late father supposedly tangled. Or she was in the FBI witness protection program, or ensconced in luxury in a villa in the South of France, or sunning herself naked on the coast of Spain, or holed up in a high-security doomsday bunker belonging to rich and powerful friends whose lives might implode should Maxwell ever reveal what she knows—all the dirty secrets of the dirty world that she and Epstein shared.”
(Vanity Fair – Jul 3, 2020)
Maxwell remained at large, beyond the reach of attorneys, tabloid reporters, and a 10,000-pound reward from The Sun in London.
“It’s a little bit like Elvis—you get lots of reports but they’re hard to verify,” a victim attorney said in May.
She was periodically said to have been spotted around the world, usually in places where she was not. Reporters scoured the globe. Some said she was in Russia trying to get a Oligarch to protect her. Others pointed to Israel or Brazil, China, Singapore, the Middle East, England.
She was “both everywhere and nowhere,” lamented UK’s The Guardian.
On August 2019, she was apparently photographed eating a burger and fries in the Cahuenga Boulevard, in the San Fernando Valley. She held The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives. Given Ghislaine and her father Robert’s alleged ties to Intelligence Services, this choice does not seem accidental.
Papers were running out of incredible stories to account for her disappearance. A bizarre new theory emerged she could be hiding in a submarine which – as we saw – was not downright impossible, since she DID have a license to pilot underground vehicles.
On July 2nd 2020, Maxwell was arrested by the FBI and NYPD in the small New England town of Bradford, New Hampshire. It is situated at driving distance of the NYSD. They finally found her in a luxurious four-bedroom, 4,365-square-foot home on a wooded lot, called Tuckedaway.
Ghislaine Maxwell was charged with six federal crimes: luring and enticement of minors, sex trafficking of children and perjury.
The crimes took place between 1994 and 1997, the years of her “intimate relationship with Epstein,” when she “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls.”
One of the three unnamed victims was “as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused by Maxwell and Epstein, both of whom knew that certain victims were in fact under the age of 18.”
FBI assistant director William F. Sweeney Jr. described Maxwell as “one of the villains of this investigation,” who had “slithered away to a gorgeous property” in New Hampshire, where she was “continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago.”
“I am optimistic about my future,” she said in 1997, “and believe things will continue to improve for me as time passes.”
Now, according to sources close to her, “I don’t think [Ghislaine] sees there is a future,” came the reply.
If found guilty of all charges, Maxwell could face a prison sentence of 35 years. She denies the accusations, and has pleaded not guilty to all six charges.
She will await trial locked up in the Metropolitan Detention Center, in Brooklyn. A dreadful prison that is as removed from her previous “silver spoon” upbringing as it’s possible in the US. Hard times.
She used to be a larger than life character, who once hosted a dinner for NY socialites on ‘the fine art of giving a blow job’. But then, she really blew it.
A report from a source familiar with the Metropolitan Detention Center gives a glum picture of Ghislaine Maxwell’s present conditions.
She is in the women’s section and believed to be confined to a solitary cell. Because of the past history of the MDC, it is not impossible to suspect that Ghislaine could be having sexual relations with one or more corrections officers, either male or female. Her available wealth would permit her to buy some privileges directly from the corrections officers who could smuggle in items for her.
MDC has a history of guards, male and female, enjoying sex with prisoners and smuggling in everything from alcohol to cell phones to drugs. While she is not enjoying what anyone would call a privileged life, and is most likely [because of Covid protocols] confined to her cell, dank and cold [in summer] perhaps as much as 23-24 hours per day and possibly getting only one hot meal per day, our source says, with her wealth and talent to charm, if there is any privilege, any opportunity, any luxury to enjoy at MDC, she is enjoying it.
Of course, she is probably under near-constant surveillance, for no guard wants to go to prison for letting her get murdered or commit suicide – as did her former lover Epstein. It is not known how frequently she is meeting with lawyers in special rooms set aside for the purpose. But an MDC source tells Frank Report that prison officials are known to eavesdrop on those conversations with lawyers and defendants and do so on high profile cases. Whether they report to the prosecution what they learn is unknown.
In the end, Maxwell has a hard road to hoe and will remain in the brutal and unsanitary MDC until she stands trial or makes a plea deal or dies. The possibility of additional charges other than those currently charged against her – for hebephilia crimes in the last century – remain a possibility.
The late Jeffrey Epstein was a convicted hebephile, a person who has urges for post pubescent but under the age of consent children. Is Ghislaine one also? And are there others, famous and prominent men of power who have indulged as Jeffrey and allegedly Ghislaine have done?
The ace in the hole for her, obviously, is, if she has info on other prominent hebephiles that the DOJ for its own partisan or PR reasons might like to selectively prosecute, she can trade that info for a lenient sentence and hopefully not be murdered for doing so.
Her former lover, Jeffrey Epstein, might have committed suicide, as the Mainstream Media and the US Govt. urges you to believe, but there are some who find the coincidences, cameras being off, bones broken indicating he was strangled, guards happening to fall asleep as they were assigned to watch the most famous prisoner in the world, such that that it just might cause reasonable people to doubt the official narrative a little more than the corporate media and prison officials would wants us to doubt.
The same fate might befall Ghislaine and we may never know just what she did. Whether her crimes were confined to herself and Epstein or whether there was a vast network of hebephiles joining in – or – in fairness to her – she is innocent as she claims, something that a trial, if she makes it to trial, might help us determine.


stretcher during the funeral service in Jerusalem’s main convention hall on Nov. 10, 1991. The body is laying on a stretcher, draped in a white Jewish prayer shawl with black stripes as is it tradition of Jewish burials in Israel. (AP Photo/Natik Harnik) Ghislaine is fourth from the left.


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Are you ready to take a closer look at Spin Casino?

And it’s not just you — the name reminds us of another casino too — Spin Palace. The crazy thing is that it’s not just a coincidence. Spin Casino is owned and operated by the same company that owns and operates Spin Palace.
The name isn’t the only thing these two casinos have in common, though. They also have a similar, if not identical, casino. The games, graphics, and stakes are alike.
If playing at identical casinos isn’t your cup of tea, we totally understand. There are tons of unique places to play online. You can browse our review section and find dozens of them.
However, if this doesn’t bother you, then the upside is that you know that you can expect a high-quality and enjoyable experience at Spin Casino.
That said, we aren’t about to rest on our laurels just because Spin Casino is similar to its sister casinos. This is why we still reviewed Spin Casino with the same scrutiny we do when we review other casinos.
This means our review below includes both the good and the bad information that we found. It means we didn’t take money for a fluffy review or inflated rating. And it also means that we’re going to tell you exactly what you need to hear so that you can decide whether Spin Casino is the right site for you to join.
If that sounds like a review that you want to read, then we have good news for you — it starts in the next section
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Spin Casino Basic Information

Spin Casino has a license with the Malta Gaming Authority and Kahnawake Gaming Commission. They’re licensed under the names Bayton Ltd and Baytree Ltd.
Bayton Ltd and Baytree Ltd are both managed by The Palace Group. There’s a good chance that you’ve heard of The Palace Group, or at least heard of or played at one of their brands. Some of the other brands they operate include Spin Palace, Ruby Fortune, and Mummy’s Gold.
The Palace Group has been in business a long time, too — since 2001. This means that they’re getting close to their 20th anniversary online, which is light years compared to other casinos.
Between their time in business and their gaming licenses, you can feel comfortable playing at any of their brands. This includes Spin Casino.

Restricted Countries – Who Can’t Play

Players from the following countries cannot play at Spin Casino.
  • Australia
  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • France and Outlying Territories
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Myanmar
  • North Korea
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • USA and Outlying Territories
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • Hungary
  • United Kingdom
Keep in mind that this list can change at any time. For that reason, we recommend you periodically check Spin Casino’s terms and conditions to see if your country has been added to the list of prohibited countries.
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The Casino

In the following sections, we’re going to look at Spin Casino’s games. That way, you can get an idea of the games they offer so that you can decide if they’ll be a good fit for you.
Unlike most casinos nowadays, Spin Casino uses only Microgaming software for its animated casino games. There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s just that you won’t have the game or graphics variety that you will have at casinos that work with multiple software providers.
Trust us, though; this casino is plenty good enough. Spin Casino offers a little bit of everything here including slots, video poker, and table games.
They have a live dealer casino, too. Their live games come from Evolution and Ezugi, who are heavy hitters in the live gaming space. The result is a robust selection of live games. We’ll look at these later.
The one confusing aspect of their casino is that there are three sections — a casino, live casino, and Vegas (casino). We’re going to list some of their games below, but we’re only going to make a distinction between their animated and live dealer games.
We also noticed that their Vegas casino section doesn’t have any filters. You can’t select the type of games (slots, table games, video poker, etc.) that you want to see. This can make it tough to find the type of game you’re looking for unless you already know what it’s called.
The good news is that most, if not all, of their Vegas games, are also available in their main casino. This means there’s a chance you won’t need to visit the Vegas section at all.
Anyway, that covers the basics. Let’s now jump into each section and look at some specific examples of casino games you can play at Spin Casino.

Table Games

We’re going to start with Spin Casino’s table games. The following is a list of card and poker games that we found during our review.
  • Atlantic City Blackjack
  • Baccarat
  • Roulette
  • 3 Card Poker
  • Card Climber
  • Classic Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Double Exposure Blackjack
  • European Blackjack
  • European Roulette
  • Flip Card
  • High-Speed Poker
  • Hold’em High
  • Vegas Downtown Blackjack
  • Multi Wheel Roulette
  • Red Dog
  • Super Fun 21
  • Vegas Strip Blackjack
  • Spanish Blackjack
  • Triple Pocket Hold’em Poker
  • Cyberstud
  • And more!
There are both pluses and minuses to Spin Casino’s table game section. We’ll start with the downsides.
The most frustrating thing about their table games is that there’s no way to filter for specific games in the Vegas section. This can make it incredibly tough to find the games you want to play unless you already know what they’re called.
Another thing we were sort of unimpressed with is the lack of non-blackjack and roulette games. There are not enough games to offset all the blackjack and roulette options.
However, that brings us to one of the good things about their table game selection. They have lots of blackjack and roulette games.
In fact, you’ll find more than 30 blackjack games and more than 10 roulette games. Some of these are merely high-stakes variants or duplicate titles with improved graphics. Even discounting those, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better selection elsewhere.
Another thing we’re fans of is some of the unique games that you’ll find at Spin Casino that aren’t readily available elsewhere. For example, we can’t think of another casino that offers Triple Pocket Hold’em, Hold’em High, or Card Climber.
That’s always a good thing.
Table Game Testing, Graphics, and Stakes
Once we were done browsing their games, we opened a few of them up to make sure they worked well and to see what their graphics and stakes are like.
The graphics for the games we tested are pretty good. They’re not glossy, overly polished, or even realistic. They look more like animated games. There’s nothing wrong with that, though.
They don’t make it clear the stakes you can play for. We had to manually decrease and increase our bets to figure out the limits. The stakes we found varied from $2/hand or round to as much as $1,000. But keep in mind that this may vary depending on the game you play.
These aren’t bad limits — they’re higher than what many casinos offer. No t only that, but we also anticipated their live dealer casino offering even higher stakes. This means that we’re less concerned about how high the stakes are in this section of their casino.
We’ll look at their live dealer section in a few minutes.

Video Poker

The next section we checked out was Spin Casino’s video poker games. Here are the games we found during our review.
  • Aces & Eights Poker
  • Aces and Faces
  • All Aces Poker
  • Deuces Wild Poker
  • Deuces Wild Bonus Poker
  • Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Jacks or Better Poker
  • All American
  • Bonus Poker
  • Deuces & Joker Poker
  • Joker Poker
  • Louisiana Double Poker
  • Tens or Better Poker
This is an okay selection. On top of this, you’ll find “power,” “multi-hand,” and “Gold Series” variants that you can also choose from. We counted nearly 25 poker games in their main casino.
There are video poker machines in the Vegas section too, but we didn’t find anything different than what’s listed above.
Testing Their Games, Graphics, and Stakes
We tested a couple of their poker games during our review.
The games we played had average graphics, but that’s to be expected with video poker machines. They’re not meant to be fancy. They worked great, though. We experienced no lagging or bugs.
Some of them had neat features, too. For example, the machines we played offered the chance to double your winnings. When you make a winning hand, you can click the “double” button to play a mini-game to see if you can double up. Keep in mind that if you lose this game, you lose everything.
The best feature, though, had to be the automatic hold. Many video poker machines will tell you when you made a winning hand so that you don’t forget to hold those cards. However, one of the machines we played automatically held the best cards according to the common video poker strategy.
Now, we don’t know what strategy these machines are using or how optimal that strategy is. However, they did hold the cards we would have had this feature not existed. This is a neat option if you’re new to video poker and aren’t sure how to play optimally.
As far as stakes go, we found machines that let us play for as little as $0.25 per coin to as much as $50 per round. We recommend you bet the max number of coins, though, which means your minimum bet will be $1.25. This will vary from machine to machine, though.
Overall, we liked Spin Casino’s video poker section. We’d like to see more unique titles to choose from, but our opinion is that this lineup will work for most people reading this.

Slots

Next up is Spin Casino’s slot selection. They have far too many slot machines to list here, but here is a small sample to give you an idea of what you’ll be able to play.
  • 5 Reel Drive
  • Snow & Sable
  • Amazing Aztecs
  • Book of Oz
  • Cashville
  • Cash of Kingdoms
  • Diamond Empire
  • Dolphin Coast
  • Fruit vs Candy
  • Halloween
  • Girls with Guns
  • Game of Thrones
  • Highlander
  • Jurassic World
  • Lady in Red
  • Kings of Cash
  • Hitman
  • Lost Vegas
  • Lucky Koi
  • Oink Country Love
  • Pretty Kitty
  • Moby Dick
  • Monster Wheels
  • Robin of Sherwood
  • Silver Fang
  • So Much Sushi
  • The Great Albini
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Tomb Raider
  • Win Sum Dim Sum
  • Fat Lady Sings
  • Jekyll & Hyde
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Legend of Olympus
  • Throne of Egypt
  • Steam Punk Heroes
  • Winning Wizards
  • Untamed Bengal Tiger
  • Old King Cole
  • And more!
You’ll find all these slots in the main casino. There are plenty more where this comes from too. You’ll also find more slots — including unique titles not found in the main casino — inside the Vegas section.
That said, their selection of slots is much smaller than we expected considering that they work with Microgaming. We still can’t complain, though, especially after seeing some of the titles that you can play here.
For example, the slots that stood out to us are the licensed/branded slots. Licensed slots are machines that revolve around IP that other companies own. This includes movies (Jurassic Park), video games (Hitman), TV shows (Game of Thrones), and more.
These are fun to play because it’s highly likely that you’re going to be a fan of whatever the slot machine is about. For example, we like Jurassic Park. This means we get to kill two birds with one stone — play slots about a theme we really like.
Not only that, but you can play many of these slot machines in brick-and-mortar casinos. We’ve played Game of Thrones countless times during our trips to Las Vegas.
And this is just the licensed slots. You still have all the other slots that Spin Casino has to offer. This includes slots with bonus rounds, 3 and 5 reels, progressive jackpots, and features such as free spins, wilds, scatters, and more.
As for stakes, they vary so much that it’s hard to give concrete numbers. That said, we found machines that allowed us to play for as little as $0.10/spin to as much as $200. Most of the machines we looked at maxed out at $30 or less, though. This means that you might have to do some digging to find the machines with higher limits.
Overall, while Spin Casino’s slot section can definitely be bigger given that they’re powered by Microgaming, what they do have will be more than enough for most people.
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Live Dealer Games

Last up is Spin Casino’s live dealer section. Here are the games we found during our review.
  • Dragon Tiger
  • Private Blackjack
  • Shangri La Roulette
  • Dream Catcher
  • Casino Hold’em
  • Baccarat
  • Football Studio
  • Roulette
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em
  • Lightning Roulette
  • Infinite Blackjack
  • Baccarat Super 6
  • Evolution Party Table
This is a solid selection of live games, especially when compared to other online casinos. But that’s not a surprise since some of these games come from Evolution Gaming, who’s a heavy hitter in the live gaming space.
Once you click on one of these games, you’ll be redirected to a section where you’ll find several tables to choose from (depending on the game). You’ll also find a navigation bar at the top with several filters to help you quickly find the game you want to play.
The lowest stakes we found for these games is $5 for blackjack. This is sort of a bummer since some live blackjack games can be played for as little as $1. However, $5 is pretty standard for a live game, so it’s not something we can hold against them.
You can play some of their other games, like baccarat or roulette, for $0.10-$1 per round.
The highest stakes we found were $5,000 for blackjack, $2,000 for roulette, and as much as $5,000 for everything else. These aren’t th highest stakes online, but they should work for most people.
One of the most impressive things about their games is the camera work. The different angles they use and the close-ups make it look like you’re watching a movie. Depending on the game, you can also change the camera option. For example, the roulette game lets you choose from 3D, immersive, or classic camera angles
The streams were very good considering how good the camera work was. We noticed a few lags, but they didn’t take away from the game much. The resolution was pretty good regardless.
Other features include the option to chat with your tablemates and the dealer, adjust the sound and camera angles, bet behind, and set up automatic actions. You can even multi-table several games at once.
Overall, we’re impressed with the live dealer casino at Spin Casino. You’ll have plenty of games to choose from, stakes, features, and men and women dealers that speak different languages.
We recommend you check it out.
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The Sportsbook

Spin Casino is unique from some of the other casinos under The Palace Group brand in that they also have a sportsbook. It’s called Spin Sports.
Here’s what you can expect to find if you choose to bet here.

Sports, Market, and Betting Options

Spin Sports has an excellent selection of sports that you can bet on. Here’s what we found during our review.
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Tennis
  • Ice Hockey
  • American Football
  • Handball
  • Volleyball
  • Cricket
  • Rugby Union
  • Rugby League
  • Esports
  • Specials
  • Virtual Sports
  • Boxing
  • Gold
  • Badminton
  • Winter Sports
  • MMA
  • Darts
  • Snooker and Pool
  • Baseball
  • Cycling
  • Motor Racing
  • Speedway
  • Floorball
  • Table Tennis
  • Bandy
  • Aussie Rules
  • Surfing
  • Netball
  • Gaelic Football
  • Gaelic Hurling
  • Super Spin Specials
Many of these options have dropdown menus, too.
For example, click on the soccer option, and a dropdown menu containing options such as England, Europe, Spain, Italy, and Germany will appear. This goes for many of the other options, too — you’ll find countries as subcategories. You’ll need to click on these to find the different leagues that play in those countries.
Your betting options will obviously depend on the sport you bet on. We found plenty of choices, though. For example, you can bet outrights or money lines for Europa basketball. You’ll find spread betting, more money lines, oveunder, and outrights for NBA games.
Click on a match, and you’ll find additional markets. For example, we checked out an NBA game and found options to bet on different quarters, total points, team points per quarter or half, overtime, and more.
There are plenty of betting options here, which was a surprise, honestly, considering who’s running this sportsbook.

Live Betting

Spin Sports also offers live sports betting.
When we were there, you could bet on soccer, basketball, tennis, ice hockey, and cricket. We wouldn’t be surprised if they covered more matches than this (when those games are available).
In fact, we know that’s the case since we looked at their Event View and Live Schedule tabs. This is where you’ll see all the sports you can bet on, all the matches, and the number of betting opportunities available for each one.
And that’s about it for their live sportsbook. The one thing we’d really like to see added in the future is the option to watch live streams. It’d make sense to add a racebook too.
Here’s hoping that Spin Sports has both items on their to-do list.
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Final Thoughts

Spin Sports is a much better sportsbook than we expected. It’s hard to expect something this impressive from a company that has been running only casinos for more than a decade.
We’re fans, though. There are plenty of sports and markets to bet on. You also have your standard options for betting in American, fractional, or decimal odds, as well as using the sportsbook in different languages.
That said, there is room for improvement. They could add a racebook, live streaming, and additional features and build out their esports section.
But we think they’ve done a good job so far, and it’ll be more than enough for your typical casino player or recreational bettor.

Banking Options

Something we noticed during our review is that there’s the option to deposit inside both the casino and the sportsbook. As far as we can tell, it looks like you’ll want to deposit to the section you plan to spend your time in.
In other words, if you want to bet sports, you’ll want to deposit to your sportsbook account. If you want to play blackjack or slots, you’ll want to make your deposit to the casino.
The good news is that it looks like the same banking options are accepted in both sections. Find an option that works for you, and you can use it in both places.
When we reviewed Spin Casino, we didn’t find any evidence that suggests they charge fees on their deposits. This is great news. However, it’s not clear whether they charge fees on withdrawals.
As for limits, you can cash out as much as €4,000 per week if the amount you’re trying to cash out is more than 5x the amount that you’ve deposited over the life of your account. Otherwise, it looks like you can cash out as much as £10,000 in a 24-hour period.
This will depend on the banking option you use, of course.
Progressive jackpots are exempt from these rules, which is great to see. It’s no surprise, though, considering that they work with Microgaming.
That wraps up their banking details. The following two sections will list the banking methods you can use to fund and cash out your account.

Deposits

  • Visa
  • Visa Electron
  • Mastercard
  • Maestro
  • Neteller
  • iDebit
  • Trustly
  • Skrill
  • Echeck
  • MuchBetter
  • Paysafecard
  • Instant Banking
  • Neosurf
  • ecoPayz
  • Flexepin
  • Direct Bank Transfer

Withdrawals

  • Credit Card
  • Debit Card
  • PayPal
  • Neteller
  • Skrill
  • Paysafecard
  • ecoCard
  • Citadel
  • Instadebit
  • Direct Bank Transfer
  • Echeck
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Bonus Promotions

You can claim a few promotions as a customer of Spin Casino and Spin Sports. The following sections summarize the offers you can claim and the terms you need to fulfill if you do.

Spin Casino Promotions

The following are offers that you’ll find under the promotions tab on the casino side of things.

New Player Bonus

This is an offer available to first-time customers. Spin Casino is offering a 100% match bonus of up to $1,000. It’s spread out over your first three deposits like this.
  • First Deposit – 100% match up to $400
  • Second Deposit – 100% match up to $300
  • Third Deposit – 100% match up to $300
This is a nice offer because you have multiple opportunities to claim as much as you can. It’s especially helpful for players on a budget who can’t deposit $1,000 in one shot.
You will need to roll over this bonus 50x, though the playthrough will depend on the casino game you play. We recommend reading their terms if you plan to play a game other than slots.
The downside to this offer is that if you do happen to complete the playthrough with money to spare, and you want to withdraw it, cash-outs will be limited to 100 casino credits. You’ll forfeit the rest of the bonus.
That being the case, it might make more sense to play the bonus (and lose money) until you only have 100 credits left. Then make a withdrawal if you want. That way, you can enjoy the bonus money/winnings for as long as possible.
And that’s all they have for bonus offers. Spin Casino does say that they offer bonuses on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. We have no idea what those offers look like, though.
While we were there, we did notice that they have a “bonus wheel.” You spin the wheel, and you can earn prizes, such as bonuses to claim. It looks like you can spin the wheel once every couple of hours.
This is pretty neat.

Loyalty Club

Spin Casino also offers a loyalty club. This is a multi-tier program that awards more perks the higher your status.
This program has six levels.
  • Blue
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Diamond
  • Privé
As you ascend, you’ll receive additional perks such as bonus points, more entry points, exclusive tournaments, VIP support, phone support, and exclusive gifts and bonuses.
You can receive monthly bonuses too. Climb the ladder to the very top of their VIP program, and you can receive more than $10,000 every month in bonuses.
Getting to each tier is straightforward — you need to earn so many points to reach a specific status, and then so many points to maintain that status each month. You’ll earn 1 point for every $10 you spend in the casino.
We recommend you read their promotions page to determine for sure if this program will be a good fit for you. But if we understand their points setup and minimum point requirements correctly, then this looks like a good program to use — even for low-stakes players!

Spin Sports Promotions

You’ll need to be in the sportsbook section in order to find their sports betting promotions. The following are the promotions we found during our review, including what you can get and the terms you need to fulfill.
Free Bet – First-time sports bettors will be able to claim a free bet bonus. This is a 100% match up to $200. To claim the offer, deposit at least $10.
This offer has a 5x rollover ($1,000 if you claim the entire $200) before you can withdraw any winnings. We recommend you read their terms and conditions for their other rules, as you’ll need to abide by odd minimums/maximums when you make your bets.
And that’s the only offer we found for sports bettors during our review.
This isn’t a bad offer by any means. That said, it would be great if they had a few other promotions running. It’d be nice to see some kind of cashback or rebate offer or additional bonuses.
But as the saying goes, something is better than nothing.

Mobile Friendliness

Both Spin Casino and Spin Sports are mobile-friendly. You don’t need to download any apps. All you need to do is go to the casino or sportsbook from your phone or tablet and log in. You’ll be able to play all games and make bets from your browser.
It looks like you’ll have the full sportsbook at your disposal. And considering that they work with Microgaming and Evolution Gaming, we wouldn’t be surprised if most or even all of their casino games are available.
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Customer Support

You can use the following options to contact Spin Casino.
The email address above is addressed to the parent company of Spin Casino. The issue with that is they manage several other casinos.
For that reason, we recommend that you make it clear that you’re a Spin Casino customer when you contact them. That way, you eliminate any confusion and reduce the chances of any unnecessary back and forth.
We were disappointed to see that they don’t offer phone support despite saying they do in multiple places throughout their website.
That said, phone support still isn’t a standard communication method offered by online gambling sites. It wouldn’t be fair if we held the lack of phone support against Spin Casino.
Besides, you can contact them 24/7 using the methods above. We sent Spin Casino an email, and we were surprised to receive a response less than two hours later. They answered our questions, too.
That’s better than the average casino for sure. For that reason, we give Spin Casino’s support two virtual thumbs up.
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Continued thoughts on the global economic impact of covid19

A month ago I posted a thread making the argument that the global economy would enter a serious downturn unless two things happened: 1) a treatment for the new coronavirus was developed immediately 2) a vaccine is developed by the next flu season
https://www.reddit.com/China_Flu/comments/f1fm6y/the_world_economy_will_enter_a_serious_downturn/
The reasoning hinged on whether the characteristics of the virus was dangerous enough to change the behavior of economic actors. We've had past scares like H1N1 or ebola that didn't have any major impact. But my it seemed clear that the characteristics of this new virus was disruptive and dangerous enough to seriously affect the behavior of economic actors and thus negatively impact the economy as a whole. Here's some highlights of what was discussed:
This is why I said for nCoV to "blow over", an affordable treatment needs to be developed pretty much right now. Think about it, who would unnecessarily risk a trip to the movies or take a vacation with the risk of a catching HIGHLY infectious disease that spreads in many ways and spreads asymptomatically and can outright KILL you at up to a 25% probability without hospitalization?
Affordable and effective treatment SOON and vaccines before the next flu seasons are crucial to avoiding lasting economic decline
But why would there be economic decline? Well, because people will change their behavior as long as the threat of the virus remains. Let's look at what industries will be affected:
So if my logic and assumptions are correct, we are looking at an inescapable catastrophe for the Asian tourism industry at the very least. Just in Time manufacturing keep about 2 weeks worth of parts. Most businesses already adjusted their supplies to account for the normal Chinese New Year shutdown. We are now coming up on the limits of most JIT supplies. So expect some pretty bad news to be coming out this week and especially by later this month. I'm seeing pretty big dips in the stock market by April. Probably -15% by April and up to -35% by the end of the year. This will be our "dip".
After I posted this thread, the market (American) went on to make record breaking all time highs. I believe a few things are responsible for this:
After a month, we've come to find out some more information about the virus. Some are bad but there are some good news as well.
Let's start with the good news:
Now some bad news:
RNA viruses like nCoV mutates extremely quickly. This means potential resistance or immunization from catching nCoV once may be lost if the virus mutates enough. This also means that there may never be permanent immunization. Any vaccine developed for it may only be effective for a portion of the mutations. And each flu season may bring many different strains of this virus that will be unaffected by developed vaccines. In other words, nCoV may be here to stay, much like other flu viruses.
Will things get better or worse?
Further thoughts
I am running out of time writing this so I will give some direct bullet point thoughts on how things will develop. Please try to think about this pandemic critically and organically. Do not use models from previous recessions because this is fundamentally different from financial crises. Misapplying models is what led to the "v-shaped recovery" consensus that was briefly reached last month. This virus and its mutation has the potential to have lasting fundamental changes on economic actor behavior.
Stream of consciousness below:
If I can leave with one last thought on this virus, it is the fact that this virus is 100% capable of creating a new paradigm, a new normal, in human civilization.
The mutations of this virus is key. This virus is uniquely positioned in mutating in ways that will fundamentally change human civilization. It can spread asymptomatically for up to weeks. That's our biggest problem. If it retains this characteristic, then there will be MUCH LESS evolutionary selection pressure for more benign strains of the virus. Remember that with viruses like MERS and SARS, they defeat themselves by showing symptoms too quickly and killing too much. They prevent themselves from being spread. But with this new virus, they can be as dangerous and deadly as they wish to evolve/mutate into, as long as they continue to be asymptomatic while infectious, their deadliness won't play a big factor in their persistence. They can still spread easily.
Remember that of the two strains of this virus published in the Chinese Journal, the NEWER strain is the more aggressive one. Viruses can mutate into deadlier strains just as they can more benign ones. Unlike other diseases, there's no big natural selection pressure for the more benign version of this virus.
In this new paradigm, entire industries will not exist, and how we function currently may fundamentally shift. Imagine a persistent danger every flu season of being hospitalized 20% of the time by an incredibly stealthy and infectious disease. How will that change how we work, travel, learn in schools, etc?
submitted by Starcraftduder to China_Flu [link] [comments]

Depressed about future prospects

Long story short, my dad suffered a major stroke 2 years ago which left him bedridden in a nursing home and I rage quit my job 1 year ago. My father lost all his asset gambling in his younger days so he had no asset to his name and I have been living with his two sisters (unmarried, my aunts). Normally I should not have to worried about this, but it turns out my Dad only had $2 in his bank account after gambling the CPF he withdrew at our world class casino. He didn't have much insurance because he cancelled them to save on premiums. For what he had, Aviva denied his claim because they claim he false declared his health status on application (many years ago) and will thus "eat" his premium and terminate the policy. The only thing I managed to claim successfully was the DPS and Eldershield thanks to NTUC, but it was after a lengthy one year process to obtain all the "funny" documents they needed. Apparently taking care of a mentally incapacitated person is harder than taking care of a dead person, thanks to red tapes everywhere. You don't just walk and say, I am the son and expect everything to fall into place. There is no one unified system at all.
Nonetheless, there was a whole lot of drama in the first year of his stroke due to the hospital, social workers and incapable relatives that requires me to attend to every single thing like I own the company, and I can take time off anytime I want to be a good son like on television. Eventually I was so burn out that everything finally forced me to rage quit my job after a falling out with management. Stuck in a contract was horrible enough but they were so eager to take advantage of the fact that I needed the job and money, instead of negotiating properly. I also dropped out of private uni because I needed cash flow to pay for all of my father's bills and that Kaplan was insensitive to my predicament by not allowing partial refund of my paid fees. Instead asking me to pay the full amount again when I am ready to re-module. I didn't take that well, so I did not extend the deferment. Let's not say I did not try to get my degree, ok? My dad rather gamble than fund my studies and when I finally saved enough for further studies, I need to pay for his medical needs. I was screwed over hard, and ultimately no money means no paper degree no matter how talented I may be. I even tried to negotiate with the company to send me for training on company time, but its always no training budget for contract staffs. And then the usual, if you go training on company time, then what we hire you for? During my years in the company, never once was I send for training. When there is a new project, they just hire someone to implement it instead of giving me the opportunity. And when its implemented, I get a few power point slides and magically I'm qualified to support the new system. It really is vomit blood.
Although I was jobless for a year, the nice thing was that I was able to get everything settled personally like the good son I should be. Or at least, I thought it should be. But it turns out that putting him in a nursing home does not entirely resolve me of my problem. He has so many medical appointments that requires me to follow up, and if I don't attend, there are funny cases where medication is missing or not collected from the hospital. Or the appointment rescheduled to another time so I can attend. I don't really know whose fault this is since the excuse I keep hearing is that "Sorry, I don't speak English so I cannot understand", so I need to be the one to take care of everything, because once again... I am the son. This keeps taking up my time and I cannot rid myself of them, so this becomes a problem when I want to find a new job. My education level is only up to Diploma and that limits my options. The roles I quality for are pretty much IT Helpdesk / Technicians which don't really have a work life balance option due to over-outsourcing. Pay wise, they are only around $2.6k and it is pretty much a dead end career, so there is no progression path. Having to pay for my father's needs and eventually his 2 sisters as they get older, with this salary really puts me at a lost.
I have a D7 in O'lv math and that is what really screw me over big time but unless I am really that bad at math, I absolutely do not see how I can start a family (If I even have that option) and take care of everyone with a low salary. The reason I need to take care of his 2 sisters is that they took care of me when my father didn't and they took out their savings to pay off my father's gambling debts, which he didn't even brother returning to them when he withdrew his CPF. Even now, when I am not working, for some strange reasons the government's means testing suggest that I can afford to pay $1200++ a month for my father's nursing home and this is excluding all his other medicines and specialist appointments. He has over 20+ medications and among them are anti depressive pills which I don't even have the luxury of taking. As much as I can, I have tried to make ends mean but at some point in time... there is only so much one can do. Social workers I spoke to are like, well live for yourself, not for others. Find a girlfriend! But i look at my situation and I don't exactly see how I even have the luxury to live for myself. If anything, I don't know of any girl in Singapore that would even consider my position as potential boyfriend material. The truth is, I have been fighting by myself for the last 30 years without anyone to seek advise from. Friends? Let's just say, its different from television. Everyone has their own problem and their broken fingernail is more important. The best you can get out of anyone is pretty much, a listening ear on whatsapp and some "You can do it! You should come to church and donate for Jesus's blessing."
I don't blame anyone though and this really issn't a rant post. I appreciate everyone that has been in my life, whether good or bad (everything is a learning experience) but ultimately, there is only so much you can beat out of a dead horse. After considering all possible options, I truly believe that ending my life and letting the government take care of my family's needs might be the best logical choice. Alternatively, I can rob the bank and get myself caught intentionally so I can get some free re-skilling opportunities in jail. Maybe when I come out, I can become some story teller with a very dramatic bestseller book to fund my retirement. To be honest, I don't know what I am expecting from this post, but this is in a way my attempt at screaming for help. Whether I deserve help or how much help I truly deserve, I don't know. Counselors always tell stories where family of 4 struggle with a household income of $2k, and they live a very happy, satisfied life so I will be just fine if I try. But how true is this story really? The bright side is that maybe the hubby can have sex with his wife to destress, but I can't fuck anyone in my family to destress. Maybe the 2 kids will grow up and help to support the family, but my situation aren't even that. I honestly feel that, I have reached the end of the crossroad and this is the end of my bloodline. I don't do drugs, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't go pub/club, I haven never even gone on overseas vacation, never took a plane before, I save whatever I can. I don't even go to cinemas. I'm not even fat, I eat a very cheap diet that puts me a little underweight but where did this effort ultimately took me? A boring person with an unattractive lifestyle that no Singaporean girls will want to date, and a aging family to take care of. Honestly, where is my future? I don't see any. To be honest, I may not have the budget to spurge on dates even if a girl want me. Singapore is just very plain straight forward. "Bo money ah? Die lor. I only got one life, you want? Come take it la."
Its a pretty long post, much longer than I expected and I thank you if you have read everything. In a way, I felt better after getting this out. If you are responding though, I have a question. If you were in my position, what would you have done? Would suicide really not be the most educated option?
PS: Pls don't suggest investing in cryptocurrencies. I deleted my bitcoin and doge wallet in 2010.
Big Edit: So there are alot of comments way more than I expected and I appreciate all support. I'm not really that responsible a person like some of you think. It is just that, I try to be a good samaritan and so I pick up the slack here and there, and somehow eventually things became so dependent on me that whose else is going to do it, if not me? I'm forced into where I am today not because I want to. I have actually very much considered disavowing my father and then migrating and abandoning everyone for the greater good. If Singapore was bigger, I would most certainly not hesitate to move to another city. Its just that my whole plan was pretty much, once I settled everything. I would kill myself so in a way that was the master plan. I rage quit my job because I knew I didn't need to put up with shit anymore if I am going to die soon. But things wouldn't settle, and it dragged so long to the point where one day I suddenly feel so lonely that I say, maybe I need to do something, walk out of this darkness and attempt to go back to society. But then I have no real plan for it, or maybe I have but I dunno if its a good plan, a bad plan or another disastrous mistake just waiting to happen.
There's alot of suggestions in here and I thank you very much. Its true that if I don't suicide, there can be many options out and some of these options involves ignoring the future ahead and then praying that things will work out eventually. That once I get a job, everything will be better. But the real problem here is, and what I can't solve in my head is which I will elaborate further is that instead of saving money every month, all the money goes into my Dad's nursing home and medical bills. Now my aunts don't make much, so its hard for them to chip in much when they also have their own medical issues. So the bulk falls on me but still we get by. Just that nobody saves any money at the end of each month, and pray that the existing savings don't get touched. Why? Because my aunt will need those money themselves when they grow older and retire. So this puts things in a very weird cycle, especially given how I have achieved nothing in life thus far. So I pay, we pay until my Dad dies and he dies a happy man, well cared for and everyone think I am such a good son. Then my aunts turn come and oh because I was so capable of handling things before, people's expectation would be that "oh, i'm sure he can do it again". So yup, let's do it again. Then eventually everyone dies, leaving me alone without any savings, career or well... let's not say family. I don't want to make this into a sobbing story of "I cannot find a girlfriend because I have no money!!". So well, what do I do? I assume I would be in my late 60s or early 70s by then and I don't expect my health to be 100% perfect so... I die to join everyone in the afterlife.
I feel very sad when I think it that way, but I need not be that sad because things haven't played out yet. That's what many are telling me. But I dunno how to ignore something that will eventually happen anyway. Thus, it is just a simple matter of whether I die now in my 30s or i die later in my 70s. Either way, I die as a failure. But its not "right" to tell say "Yes Gram, pls go and kill yourself. I fully support your decision." so they say, don't worry. Things will work out. But how will things work out? I ask them, they dunno. I ask myself, I dunno. So... what then? It seems like just delaying the inevitable to me.
If I disavow everyone, np. I just restart my life plain and simple, reach 35 buy my own house and throw a house warming party, impregnate my neighbour's daughter by mistake and I start my own family chapter. And I die in my 70s as a successful husband, good father and someone to be "proud" of. But do I need to start my own family? Not really. Do I need a girlfriend? Not really. Do I need sex? Not really. They are all luxury, not a necessity. So I choose to sacrifice myself, but then I feel suicidal and ya the cycle begins again. I'm not a dumb person and by no means have I not considered the possibilities. But what I have considered may not be big enough, since there are options that I am unaware of or misunderstood and that it aren't as bad as I painted it. Ok, I am open to explore it but if the advise is just "Get a job Gram, that's your first step and then start saving!". That is a pointless advice imo, no matter how reasonable it is because it just puts me back to square one. I am not trying to sound unappreciative btw, I am just frustrated at being looked upon like an idiot.
Edit 2: Based on the comments, I realized that from my friends' perspective, I am the dead weight so that might be why they aren't "helping", just act like things will resolve by itself. Well, I can afford to disavow these friends. Thanks for helping me to realize this!
Edit 3: Going through all the suggestions and private messages, I am suddenly feeling very overwhelmed by what needs to be done and what I should be doing. My head hurts really bad and I am starting to regret asking for help when I am not ready to be helped. It is all reminding me what I should have or should not done for a better life, and why I wanted to commit suicide in the first place. Now I remember why I concluded it was easier to simply restart a new life and make sure I do it correctly the next time. Sorry guys, I don't think I can do it anymore. I think things just got worse after asking for help.
submitted by GramTooNoob to singapore [link] [comments]

Interview with magician Lee Asher (President of 52 Plus Joker American Playing Card Collector Club)

Interview with magician Lee Asher (President of 52 Plus Joker American Playing Card Collector Club)

Who is Lee Asher?

I first came across the work of Lee Asher many years ago. At that time I was exploring my long-time interest in card magic, and Lee had made some good contributions in that area. One of his signature tricks that he is well-known for is an ace routine called the Asher Twist. If you enjoy card magic, you'll appreciate the cleverness involved and the impossibility it apparently creates. Lee is skilled magician, and his name will be familiar to many from his work as a magic consultant.
But Lee Asher's credentials extend much further than the contributions he's made as a magician. Self-described as a "playing card and sleight of hand expert", it's especially his expertise in the area of playing cards that will interest most readers of this article. When my personal interest in playing cards was revived in the last number of years, I kept coming across his name in several places. When researching things like the iconic Jerry Nuggets Playing Cards, I came across his outstanding article on the subject. While looking up information about dating playing cards, his name popped up yet again, once more with a very informative and authoritative article about this. Via the official online portal for the 52 Plus Joker American Playing Card Collector Club, PlayingCardForum.com, I learned that Lee is in fact the current President of this highly respected organization for collectors of playing cards.
All this is to say that when it comes to experience with playing cards, it's hard to think of someone with finer credentials than Lee Asher. From his personal experience as a magician and a collector, as well as his involvement with 52 Plus Joker and as President, it's obvious that he knows what he's talking about. And fortunately for us, Lee was happy to talk to us, agreeing to this interview, in which he answers questions about himself, about playing cards, about collecting, and of course about 52 Plus Joker. So let's hand it over to Lee, and hear what he has to say!

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The Interview

General background
For those who don't know anything about you, what can you tell us about yourself and your background?
My name is Lee Asher. I'm 42 years old, and I'm a second-generation sleight of hand artist. My father taught me magic at the ripe age of seven. When I was about fifteen, I started performing magic for money at restaurant and private gigs. Eventually, I moved from my birth state of Florida all the way to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend University and study casino management (UNLV).
Directly after graduating in 1999, I threw all my possessions into a Las Vegas storage locker and chased my heart to Paris, France. During this sublime period of my life, I also traveled around Europe performing and teaching my brand of sleight of hand to other magicians.
Once I conquered Europe, I began performing and lecturing around the rest of the world in cities such as in London, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Kuala Lumpur, Perth, Shanghai, Taipei, Santo Domingo, Beijing, Tokyo, Glasgow, Tel-Aviv, Hong Kong - and the list goes on and on.
Eventually I moved back in the Americas. Now I live in Canada, married to the woman of my dreams. My wife's name is Christina. And while we have no children, we have a big lovable boxer dog named Quinton.
What do you currently do for a day job and/or what are your other interests?
I'm a magic consultant, magician and playing card expert. In my spare time, I like collecting antique, vintage and modern playing cards. I also like creating sleight of hand and other fun moves. But when I'm not holding cards, I'm reading, cooking, watching movies or playing card games with my wife.
Given that you have had a successful career in magic, what would be some highlights in your personal curriculum vitae?
I'm fortunate. I have a bunch. Here are a handful of highlights that mean the the world to me: ● 1993 - Performed with my father as a walk-around magician on Miami's exclusive, Fisher Island. ● 1996 - Performed at the Magical Empire, a 66 million dollar attraction at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas. ● 2001 - Lectured at London, England's prestigious Magic Circle on September 10th, 2001. ● 2005 - Performed as an Absolut Vodka ambassador during their 'Magic of Winter' campaign using the now famous Absolut cards. ● 2016 - Magic celebrity judge on Amazing Magicians with China's most famous movie actress, Fan Bing Bing.
What sparked your interest in magic to begin with, and what is it about magic that you still love today?
My father. He's a eye doctor by day, and a magician at night. He's how I got interested in the art of magic. Adequately reflecting on his significance in a mere several hundred words is impossible. Nonetheless, I’d like to share some interesting facts with you about my dad, Mark Horowitz.
Let’s back up to the mid-1950s when my father was a child. New York City was a hotbed for magic in the United States, only rivaled by cities like Chicago & Los Angeles. Fortuitously, Dad learned from a handful of New York’s finest magicians. Mega legends like Al Flosso and Lou Tannen nurtured his love for the art. These men taught my father the foundations of magic. You can say these formative experiences helped mold him into the magician that Dad is today. On occasion, you’ll hear him reminisce fondly about spending time in those famous NYC magic shops.
BTW, Dad never became a full-time pro. Though he managed to support himself with magic gigs throughout university and optometry school. After graduating, he became a licensed optometrist with his own practice. He also became the resident trade show magician for Swan Optical and HydroCurve, a major contact lens company owned by Revlon. On top of his day job, Dad flew around the nation entertaining high-ranking executives and high-profile clients of the optical industry. Without a shred of doubt, my father paved the way for me to be a professional magician.
Moreover, if you've met him before, then you’ll know that Dad indulges by collecting artifacts from his youth. If it triggers fond memories of his illustrious past, he collects it. Of course it's impossible to own everything. So like any seasoned collector, he's refined his tastes over the years. Currently, he prefers acquiring magic-themed comics, autographed magic books and unique magic ephemera. His lifelong passion for collecting led him to amass the world’s largest magic comic book collection. This impressive feat landed him on the cover of MAGIC Magazine in April 2007.
During an early point in his life, my father immersed himself in the political side of magic. Year after year, he's generously helped organize IBM magic meetings, lectures and conventions on a local, state, and nationwide levels. To this day, he’s still involved with his local IBM magic club's affairs.
There's no question that his lifetime of remarkable dedication and outstanding service to the organization exemplifies his genuine reverence for the art of magic. While the word count on my heartfelt tribute here answering your question will sadly run out, the love I have for my father will not.

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About playing cards
What kind of playing cards did you first use when you started magic?
My dad had already amassed a bunch of decks from years of performance and collecting, so my earliest memories of holding cards and practicing are with US Playing Card Company (USPCC) 808 Series Bicycle 'Rider' backs. Not too long after, I found Tally-Ho's, Bees, Blue Ribbons, and Aristocrats. Eventually, other brands like Hoyle (shell backs) made their way into my hands, too.
As you know, these are all American-made decks. So the first European deck I touched was in 1989. I was thirteen. It's also when the Klutz Book of Card Magic was released. It came with a bridged-sized deck of Piatnic playing cards. They were glorious! I never felt such a thick, smooth, robust deck of cards. My adventures with European decks would not end here. More on that later.
Do you use playing cards for anything other than card magic? (e.g. card flourishing, card games, or anything else?)
Sure. I play card games with my wife all the time. Lately, we've been enjoying a lot of Monopoly Deal (made by Cartamundi). She's savage and plays a mean game of cards. I hardly ever win!
As for flourishing, I still dabble. Though, I don't have the time to practice as much of it as I should. It's true what they say; you must use it, or you lose it. Back in the day, I was influenced by renowned skateboarders like Stacey Peralta and Rodney Mullen. I introduced aerial moves to the flourish culture like ‘Yo’ (1997), ‘Diving Board Double’ (1997), and rail slide-esque techniques like the ‘Silver Surfer’ (1998).
Unquestionably, I'm exhilarated by this new generation of cardists and magicians. It also thrills me when I see people playing with my techniques. For instance, a simple search yields hundreds of videos of young people performing these moves. It's an honor watching the material grow larger than I could have ever imagined.
What do you think are the essential qualities of a good deck of playing cards in terms of design?
I'm a magician. Thus, I'm answering like a magician. I need a deck of cards that people can recognize. For instance, if the courts are beautifully customized but no one realizes they're looking at a King of Clubs, then the design hinders the performance.
I also believe the cards should be somewhat symmetrical, though I'm open to interpretation. There are some beautiful one-way patterned decks. Plus, if subtle enough, the one-ways help me achieve some stunning magical effects! Shhhhh.....
What should buyers today look for in a quality deck of playing cards?
Honestly, a majority of buyers aren't aware of the diverse qualities found in playing cards. There are a plethora of options available on the market today.
My advice: Buy a few decks made by different manufacturers --from around the world-- and start playing. Gather your own empirical evidence. Do you like cards feeling thick? What about thin? Embossed? Or smooth? Believe it or not, this is a personal journey. You never know, you might discover something new about yourself along the way.
The playing card industry has changed rapidly over the last two decades. Do you have any thoughts on the explosion of custom playing cards?
As the self-proclaimed 'king of playing card geeks', I approve of what's happening. Every day I wake up and see new decks appear for sale from different producers, all around the globe. It's a playing card aficionado's wet dream.
Certainly it doesn’t take a psychologist to comprehend the decks we are attracted to --the ones we use for playing, performance and collect in our vaults-- speak to our own personalities and beliefs. They help make us feel unique, and it’s fair to say all these modern decks cater to this meaningful need.
Simply put, they offer a bit of happiness to those who find part of themselves represented within the design, color, and even texture of the deck. Again, I approve.
What impact has crowdfunding like Kickstarter had on the custom playing card industry and collecting? And what has your own experience (if any) with this been like?
Kickstarter and the crowd-funding concept have rewritten the rules on how items are produced and purchased. In 2009, when Kickstarter began, there were under fifty decks launched; now there are hundreds of decks per year looking for funding. Of those projects, at little less than half succeed and find financial backing. In the big scheme of things, that’s impressive!
More important, Kickstarter is where we’re seeing wonderful grass-roots innovation. If the crowd decides that the project isn’t interesting, then the project isn’t funded. So, no one wastes time on unnecessary R&D. The items that receive funding are the items people want. That, in itself, is an innovation. And because of the low risk involved with crowd-funding a project, more avant-garde, ground-breaking concepts are put forth. These kinds of ideas won’t be attempted by any of the larger card producers scared to waste money 'testing the waters'.
But it gets better. The internet encourages fans connecting with artists. Which, in turn, encourages artists pushing the limits on what they create. It’s a beautifully symbiotic relationship.
All the while, playing card manufacturers are looking for innovative ways to accommodate. As a result, ground-breaking innovation and even long forgotten vintage techniques are making major comebacks -- in modern ways.
Where do you think the custom playing card industry will go from here, and what innovations or changes might we see in the coming years?
Roughly ten years ago, I went on record saying most playing card innovation will focus on the tuck box. And that's what happened. We've seen a strong push re-popularizing vintage 'bells and whistles' that were famous in the 1970s. For instance, decks printed with metallic inks, extraordinary embossing, and tricked-out foiling have become vogue again.
Consequently, I believe the next ten years will usher in innovative improvements to stocks and finishes. We've satisfactorily tackled the aesthetic, now it's time to pioneer undiscovered tactile fronts. Companies like Expert Playing Card Co. and Cartamundi already lead the way. Cardistry, magic and card games also help drive innovation.
What can you tell us about the Lee Asher 605 Playing Cards, which you produced yourself?
As I mentioned earlier, my taste for European playing cards came early on. Because I lived in South Florida, you could find Fournier playing cards in certain shops. For those who don't know, this wonderful Spanish playing card company was founded back in 1868. In 1986, they merged with the US Playing Card Company. Now though, Cartamundi owns Fournier. Yet, Fournier continues to keep their unique style of printing which differentiates them from everyone else in the world.
When it came time to print a deck, I had several choices of manufacturers. Ultimately, I picked Fournier. Constant innovation, the desire to improve quality and their exquisite attention to detail makes Fournier a leading card manufacturer. These were my guys! My team worked with Fournier's art department. We scrapped our original thoughts and started to play with the Fournier 505 back design. It's beautiful and classical. We wanted to change it and put it to new use. Once out of pre-production, Fournier's art team dubbed these cards the 'Lee Asher 605 Signature Series'. It was great honor!
Printed on Fournier's best stock, my 605s are heavier and thicker than USPCC's casino-grade cards. Each deck of the 605 series is free of defects, and guarantees a precise slide due to the special varnish formula used. This varnish is exclusive of Fournier and follows a secret formula only known by two persons at the plant. At least, that's the story they told me.
This varnish gives Fournier cards their unique feeling and sliding ability. Plus it also adds to longer durability making them higher in quality than other cards on the market. Afterwards the card sheets dry in an oven and later, pressed. This process also gives the cards more resistance and durability.
Each deck goes through twelve (12) different quality controls along the manufacturing process. It ends in a final Intelligent Eye printing check and an optical infrared light test. This guarantees that each deck contains 55 cards. Unlike other manufacturers, all Fournier decks get cut one-by-one. This way, all cards (including the edges) have exactly the same size.
Without a doubt, you can feel a difference between my high-end 605 series decks and the ones produced in America.

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About collecting
You personally have a huge interest in learning about and collecting playing cards. When did this interest begin, and what got you started in collecting?
Again, my father is an avid collector of magic memorabilia and other stuff that reminds him of his childhood. So it's in my blood. I have no choice.
But the playing card side of my habit didn't become apparent until University. That's when I had hundreds of decks littering my dorm rooms and apartment. You'd walk in on any given Sunday and find Jerry's Nugget, Golden Nugget, Desert Inn, Arizona Charlie decks and other random casino cards strewn across the floors. Without a doubt, practicing sleight of hand and cardistry can be messy!
What are some of the reasons motivating people to collect playing cards?
As I mentioned earlier, playing cards speak to our own personalities and beliefs. That means there are many reasons why people collect them. But it usually distills down to two different personalities types: ● Type A - People who collect a specific category, image, artist, brand, feel, reason, etc. ● Type B - People who speculate for money.
Which type are you? The good news is, there's plenty of room for both. The playing card world is inclusive. Also, if you collect long enough, you'll find yourself selling decks to buy other cards. It's natural. Ignore the opportunity to feel ashamed of any capitalist tendencies along your journey.
What are some of the things you personally and especially enjoy about collecting playing cards?
I appreciate the back story. It started with casino decks because of their history. Now I cannot help but notice that during the past decade, my collecting tastes & sensibilities have become refined. What I was originally passionate about back then, now curiously finds itself in the company of other newly formed interests.
Conversely, if you told me back in the beginning that I would find great pleasure in hunting down antique private-die playing card stamps, the younger me would have laughed out loud at the notion. These days, however, I look forward to sharing my label collection with anyone interested in seeing it. I even revel in finding better versions of private-die playing card stamps I already own. Coincidentally, if you are in possession of that almighty Caterson, Brotz & Co. label, give me a call and we will speak.
Within the past several years, I’ve been connecting the dots between U.S. Patents, inventors/artists & the actual playing card products manufactured. I write a monthly article titled the PATENT FILES that should interest any researcher out there. Digging through Google’s digitized patent area has uncovered a real treasure-trove of playing card history & information.
Once again, if you asked the younger me about working on this kind of historical research, I would have scoffed, made several snarky comments and declined. Yet now, all I can do is get excited thinking about it. My, how times have changed.
How many decks would you estimate that you currently have in your personal collection?
Lots. But that means absolutely nothing. Heed the old saying, "quality over quantity". It's impossible to own every deck of cards ever produced. Yet, it's possible to own the best of all the cards produced.
How do you organize and display your collection of playing cards?
Usually, I like my collection sorted by antique, vintage and modern categories. But lately I've been lazy and unorganized, so everything is mixed and thrown together. One of these days, I'll take some time and put everything back into some semblance of order.
Consider me a user as much as I'm a collector. Without a doubt, I play with my cards. But at the same time, they also get shelved to stare at from a distance. Finding a balance between the two has its difficulties.
When it comes to showing off my cards, they aren't presented well; I've got display decks in Carat Cases and what not, but it could be better. My friend and fellow playing card collector, Jay McKinstry (a master craftsman/artisan), asked if he could make some beautiful displays for me. This guy is the Michelangelo of wood craft, and that would be a dream come true.
One of these days, with McKinstry's help, I look forward to everyone appreciating all the cool stuff I've collected over the years.
Do you have any special categories of decks that you focus on collecting, and what are your favourite types of decks to collect?
We can break down American playing card collecting into three categories. Are you a modern deck collector, or maybe you fancy yourself as an antique collector? Vintage? Not sure? The easiest way to tell is by the age of the decks you collect: ● You’re an antique collector if the majority of your deck collection pre-dates the 1930s. ● You’re a vintage collector if the majority of your deck collection dates from 1931 to 1995. ● You’re a modern collector if the majority of your deck collection dates from 1996 to today.
It seems, the more you learn about playing cards in general, the more interesting each category becomes.
While I consider myself a vintage card collector, I’m the proud owner of some wonderful antique decks as well as a plethora of modern decks. That makes me a hybrid playing card collector. Apparently, we're a growing breed!
What would the most valuable deck in your collection be, and what accounts for its value?
Everybody is quick to speak about value, but no one ever discusses the worth of sentiments. What's my first European deck valued at on eBay? Maybe $5? $10? For me, it's priceless. So assigning value to my collection is much tougher than it looks. At least, for me. Maybe you feel the same way?
Where can we learn about grading and dating older decks of playing cards?
Pick up a copy of the Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards by Tom and Judy Dawson. This is the best resource on collecting American playing cards, ever written. They took all of long-time collector Eugene Hochman's research, and compiled it into one big volume. In those pages you'll find discussion about grading and dating your playing cards.
On a side note, if you Google search for info about dating and/or grading your deck, you'll find a bunch of articles relating to these topics. Most, if not all, of this info comes from the Hochman Encyclopedia and/or Tom and Judy Dawson. For instance, here are two links that cover the topics at hand: ● How To Date Your Playing CardsHow To Grade Your Playing Cards
I'm a new collector. Should I go out and buy a deck of 1970s authentic Jerry's Nuggets right away?
LOL! If you love collecting vintage casino decks, then sure. If you're speculating, buy as many as you can. But if you hear these sentiments and feel they're not applicable to you, then I'd suggest spending your money elsewhere. Like I said before, this is a personal journey. Take the time and discover something new about yourself. Collect what you think is worthy of collecting.

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The 52 Plus Joker collectors club
How and when did the 52 Plus Joker come about?
In 1985, 52 Plus Joker formed to cater to the interests of American antique playing card collectors. We have long since broadened the scope of the club to include collecting playing cards of all sorts, from around the world. With the internet spurring the recent surge of interest in playing cards; geographical and categorical lines blur daily.
52 Plus Joker community facilitates: ● The collection and trading of antique, vintage and modern collectible playing cards and related items, ● The advancement of knowledge about the history, manufacture and artistic aspect of playing cards, ● The promotion of fellowship among members with similar interests.
52 Plus Joker welcomes you whether you're an experienced collector or newcomer to the world of playing card collecting. If you want more info or would like to join 52 Plus Joker, please visit their official website. For the record, it's the best $25 USD I spend all year long!
In your experience, what have you found to be some of the benefits of being part of a playing card organization like 52 Plus Joker?
52 Plus Joker Club membership provides a wide variety of benefits, including: ● Attend our annual playing card convention. A unique experience unlike any other. ● Auctions of collectible, unusual and rare decks throughout the year. ● Quarterly printed magazine 'Clear The Decks'. Broaden your playing card horizons. ● Monthly digital magazine 'CARD CULTURE'. Delve deep into playing card life. ● Inclusion within 52 Plus Joker's membership roster. Meet like-minded individuals. ● Access to the Ask Alexander database of all our archives. ● Personal club account on the world’s largest Playing Card Forum. ● Plus more!
When did you first get involved with 52 Plus Joker, and how would you describe what your role as President involves?
This will be my 10th year involved with 52 Plus Joker. I found them back in 2009. By chance, I stumbled upon an online advertisement for the combined 52 Plus Joker / International Playing Card Society convention in Toronto, Canada. Twenty-four hours after registering, my phone rang with the caller ID - THOMAS DAWSON! I already owned a copy of the Hochman Encyclopedia and knew who Tom Dawson was. I became star-struck that a luminary like him would call a neophyte like me.
Turns out he and his wife, Judy, lived in Toronto, too. As soon as Tom spoke, it felt like we were old friends. Within minutes, I he gave me an invitation to come over and see their playing card collection. I’ll never forget that moment. Receiving an invitation was an honor back then and it’s still an honor to reminisce about it now. For Tom though, he was simply acting like a playing card ambassador. There could not have had been a better welcoming committee to 52 Plus Joker.
About a week later, I attended the club's annual convention. WOW! I'd never seen so many unfamiliar decks of cards in my life. I had so much to learn. At one point, Judy Dawson remarked how the club could use a little more youth. She thought young people had little interest in collecting playing cards. Her comment was confusing. Was she unaware of the massive explosion of custom card collecting online? Apparently. Actually, 95% of the club had no idea. Quickly thinking on my feet, I requested some day passes. I blurted out that I could convince ten playing card collectors under the age of 30 to show up on the final day of the convention. Some members of 52 thought I was crazy. Judy was hopeful, but placed little faith in it.
To make a long story short, ten playing card collectors under the age of 30 turned up on the last day of the convention. Obviously, it wasn't hard. This club had yet to introduce themselves to the new generation of card collectors. With my help, that was about to change. I was unanimously voted onto 52 Plus Joker's executive board. They made me 'Head of Publicity'.
That was ten years ago. Since then, I've risen through the ranks. In 2016, I became the youngest president in the club’s existence. Without a doubt, our playing card future illuminates with great opportunity. It’s my pleasure to lead us into this bright light.
What can you tell us about the annual 52 Plus Joker decks?
Of course! I'd love to brag about this. Each year, we ask the some of the greatest playing card designers in the world to craft a club deck. Incredible artists like Jackson Robinson, Paul Carpenter, Mark Stutzman, Alexander Chin and Randy Butterfield have the distinct honor of creating masterpieces for us. Without a doubt, we’re the luckiest club on the planet to work with such amazing talent.
For our 2019 deck, we picked one of Europe's finest playing card designers, Lotrek. He says he’s working on a special deck that’s sure to knock our socks off. Lotrek is a man of his word and we all look forward to what he creates.
If you want to see and own this year's club deck, we release it every year at our annual convention. It's one of the highlights of our entire event.
Each year the club hosts a convention. When is this and what is it about?
We held this year's convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 9th - October 12th, 2019. It's a chance to meet legendary collectors & designers, hobnob with premier card manufacturers, and talk decks with other enthusiasts all night long. There's nothing like it in the world.
For more information or if you want to join us at future conventions, please visit here.
What can you tell us about the CARD CULTURE magazine that you are the editor of?
CARD CULTURE was my answer to satisfy the digital end of our membership. Plus, it allowed us to connect with members on a monthly basis. After pitching the idea to Tom Dawson (who was the President at the time), I enlisted Don Boyer as the editor in chief. We also managed to wrangle a handful of writers for monthly articles.
On the 15th of each month, CARD CULTURE gets delivered to your email inbox [sample issue]. Most of our membership consumes it on their tablets or phones. Though, we offer it at a high resolution so you can print it, if you want a hard copy. We try our hardest to impress you on a monthly basis.
Don ran the show up until the 25th issue. After his departure, I took over. In May, we published our 52nd issue!

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Final thoughts
Is there anything else you'd like to share about collecting playing cards, or about playing cards?
The playing card world constantly changes. For instance, European card manufacturer Cartamundi purchased United States Playing Card Company. I made a video about it if anyone cares to hear me rant about playing cards: Lee Asher on USPCC's Merger With Cartamundi
We're living in fascinating times, and I look forward to what our future brings! Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts about playing cards, EndersGame.
If anyone reading this wants to continue the conversation, please email me at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]). I'm always interested in meeting other fellow magicians, playing card collectors and enthusiasts. Speak soon.

Conclusion

Lee Asher certainly has a lot to offer and share when it comes to playing cards, and I for one are very grateful that he was willing to do this interview. He has a wealth of knowledge, and his insights are helpful, and his enthusiasm is infectious. If you haven't yet seen it, I highly recommend listening to him talk about Cartamundi's recent acquisition of USPCC [link] - it's obvious that he's knowledgeable and passionate, and you'll learn some fascinating things from what Lee has to say.
Collectors in the United States will also appreciate learning more about the 52 Plus Joker club. If you're really keen, you may even want to attend the annual convention in October. Certainly take a look at what they offer, including the very interesting Card Culture magazine.
Once again a huge thank you to Lee Asher for conducting this interview - I know I've learned a lot, and enjoyed hearing what he had to say. Lee's enthusiasm for playing cards is something that many of us around the world share, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that sees somewhat of a kindred spirit, with our shared love for playing cards.
Where to learn more?Official website for Lee AsherLee Asher 605 Playing CardsLee Asher's articles on magic and playing cardsOfficial website for the 52 Plus Joker American Playing Card Collectors ClubThe Annual 52 Plus Joker ConventionCard Culture sample issue

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Author's note: I first published this article at PlayingCardDecks.com here.
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[Event] Algerida 2035: National Renewal Megaproject

Algerida 2035: National Renewal Megaproject

President Sa'adi has announced a new megaproject to couple with the national housing overhaul that will change Algiers forever. President Sa'adi has proposed the creation of a megalopolis to expand from Algiers, Oran, and Tiaret. The new megalopolis, slated to be called Algerida, is the proposed capital of the Islamic Republic of Al-Maghreb, and to be the most modern city in the Middle East when completed. The project will be massive and cost around $100 Bn, to be built in 10 years. However, for Algeria's future, there is no cost to great to launch us into the next era. President Sa'adi envisions a city with world-class universities, casinos, a vibrant trade port, a booming financial center, high-class tourists, and factories outside of the city limits-churning Algeria forward. Without a doubt, in recent years, Algeria has made leaps and bounds towards a brighter future, but this will be the crowning achievement for all of Algeria's time. It is one thing to claim to be the utopia for Muslims, it is another to actually give it to them.

Algerida's Residential Development

Already announced but under a different name, Algerida's massive apartment residential complex developments are already underway. This urban renewal process will begin replacing the old with the new to completely change the Algerian lifestyle. With the street side stores that are built into the residential blocks, while also featuring underground parking garages, downtown life will be more vibrant than ever before. Citizens will now be able to purchase services, food, and small items through small privately owned businesses within the first two floors of the residential developments on the street side. The previously mentioned underground parking will clean the Algerian streets of vehicle, trash and pollution clutter. With the Algerian National Police strictly enforcing the urban ban on roadside parking, it should fix the problem for good, and trafficking will be smoother sailing rolling forward. These new residential developments will have access to natural gas, 5G services from nearby towers, 10 gigabyte internet speeds, running water, and air-conditioning as a utility. For many Algerians, this is luxury they have never had before. Each apartment building we be on average 25 stories tall and be built in districts of like models, all will feature both stairs and at least two elevators. The roof tops of the apartment building developments will be fashioned with solar panels and connecting to the Algerida grid through transformers to store and use the energy gradually through the day time, and open up the reserves at night time- living in the desert does have its perks. Additionally, power from the tiered-hydro dams as part of the desalination river project will be the primary contributor to the new grid. To combat pollution and dust, Algeria will be working with contractors from China to build air purifier towers in the center of each apartment residential district to clean the air out for the local residents. Needless to say, each residential district will have its own Elementary School, Middle School, and High-School all within close proximity to the air purifier towers within the residential district. Algerian National Police will have at least two precincts to each residential district to ensure proper community policing and compliance with traffic laws. The local roads will also have to be upgraded to connect the proposed regions of Algerida together. Most main roads in the residential districts will be 8 lanes wide featuring signs in both Arabic and French. The main roads will have traffic lights, but at the midpoint between each traffic light on major roadways, sky walkways will be built over the road for pedestrians to traverse peacefully across the roads. The sky walkways will use ramps on the side with small stairs in the middle to cater to disabled citizens. In addition to the traffic lights, a small shaded concrete pedestal will be erected for Algerian National Police Traffic Enforcement Officers who will guide traffic on a permanent basis with their arms and whistle. Additional officers will be necessary to assist in school-crossings Monday through Saturday. The walled communities will have a security checkpoint at both ends to be accessed both by on foot and by vehicle, where in between all the apartments in the district is a small communal park. The security checkpoint will be required to log in visitors and have the resident who invited them come down to escort them to the residence. Only keys and parking passes will be given to residents, however visitor vehicles that are not electric scooters or bicycles/skateboards can purchase a $20 parking ticket to allow them to use the underground parking garages. The security checkpoints will be managed by the Ministry of Public Safety. Vehicle license plates and pictures of the driver will be taken when vehicles come and go that are not resident vehicles, otherwise, resident vehicles will already have their vehicle logged in with the public security officers at the residential check point. There is no specific metal detector or shake-down security at the entrances, just scanning the gate access with a residential card, the card will show the Ministry of Public Safety officers a picture on their screen that they will visually match with the face. The card will open the gate regardless. Public Safety officers will patrol the apartment district both during the night and day time to assist residents and ensure the area is secure. All mail will be delivered to an apartment district mail sorting house that all the residents can visit to collect their mail, near the entrances to the districts. The mail boxes are free of charge, and come with living in the districts. International shipping will cost, domestic shipping is paid for. Each residential district will have one major hospital, while each apartment block will have a small clinic with maybe one doctor and five nurses on staff for a range of services. All dentistry, and specialized services are done at the hospital. Private businesses can rent out the rooms on the first floor to open up street side businesses, making small thrive-able communities within the city. CCTV cameras will be placed around the inside of the Apartment block and serve as a way to assist the Public Safety officers in their patrols.

Algerida's Air Markets

Air Markets at one point in time was a crucial part of Algerian culture, and that has not passed away with history for many. President Sa'adi sees no reason why the new megalopolis cannot have these air markets, however he acknowledges they are usually quite dirty, and give a bad image on a clean and prosperous city. Nonetheless, there is a happy medium that can be met in order to keep the city efficient, and the streets clean. Algerida will allocate large plots of land on roadsides where the open air markets can be organized so they are not directly on the street side. The stall owners can apply for a permit at no charge to set up their stall and request at which air market they wish to operate, and they will be given a set space to keep their stall and set up permanently. This way, Algerians and tourists alike can visit these open air markets and enjoy them as a crucial piece of Algerian history, while not detracting from the efficiency of the city. The air markets are largely unregulated, and mostly un-policed, with the exception of annual food inspections, and the occasional narcotics sweeps. Officers will still be accessed to make the occasional patrol through the market and break up fights and ensure there is no gang-affiliated operations, but will not interfere with the private business functions or their products.

Algiers Financial District as part of Algerida

Recently, the Algerian State Construction Engineering Corporation has begun constructing their new headquarters, called ASCEC Tower just south of Rue Tripoli in Algiers- in the new Algiers Financial District. Rue Tripoli in Algiers as part of Algerida will become the new financial district. Large state-owned companies like Air Maghreb, NaseebChat, and many other electronic and corporate manufacturing giants have begun setting up their own headquarters on Rue Tripoli, overlooking the Mediterranean. When it is complete, Rue Tripoli Street will become the postcard image of the new Algeria. A bright night sky filled with colors of bright LED lights. Soon Air Maghreb Tower, Algeria State Broadcasting Tower, and NaseebChat Corporation Headquarters will tower above Algerida and show of the many homegrown successes of Algeria's own corporations. By day they will flex power, money, innovation, and creativity, and by night- they will light up the sky. Other companies such as AliTel, Halim Group, Kazim Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, and many others will also be setting up their own headquarters on Rue Tripoli.

The Mighty Universities of Algerida

Now holding some of the most influential universities in Algeria such as: University of Algiers, and Oran University, Algerida will hold a lot of sway over the dreams of Algerian students. However, if Algerida really wants to compete on the world-stage, it will have to attract talent from all over the world, and build new universities with new programs to stimulate the minds. It would also mean, Algeria would need to create some new universities to be apart of "Allah League," a play on Ivy League to describe prestigious American universities. The "Allah League" in Algeria will consist of the new constructed schools:
Other universities from around the world are being encouraged to apply to build an extended university campus in Algerida before there is no longer any space. To jump start these “Allah’s League” universities, it will take a considerable amount of money because the school must be built, faculty must be hired, contracts need to be signed. However, for our young people, there is no expense too many. Algerians should have some of the best faculty and researchers from around the globe, and there is no place better to look than the rapidly developing China. China is cranking out teachers and professors faster than it knows what to do with them- and Algeria says- we will help you if you help us. The Algerian Ministry of Education has reached out to the Chinese Ministry of Education and delivered them a stack of contracts for temporary senior faculty positions to build an Ivy League from the ground up. Of course, these contracts will last while students learn and become professionals until they can eventually become professors themselves and truly embody a homegrown Ivy League, for the academic elite- but until then, we will learn from our best friend. The Sa’adi Military University will specialize in creating 2nd Lt. officers out of high-school for the Army, Navy, and Air Force, to become the best of the best for the Algerian Armed Forces, to comprise of PLA visiting leadership. The National Algerida University will be the all purpose university with a focus on international relations, political science, humanities, foreign languages, education, fine arts and music, Sunni theology, urban planning, things of that nature. The National Algerida University will have a mix of both local and Chinese professors. The Zekkal University of Science and Technology will be the STEM school, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, software development, electronics manufacturing development, maritime and nautical engineering studies, aviation sciences, cyber security, biology, chemistry, environmental policy, environmental engineering, sustainability studies. The Fergani University is the Algerian Law School, and school for law enforcement. Zekkal University will likely need a large amount of foreign faculty to begin. Police, prospective attorneys, intelligence services, prospective students in international laws would all seek out Fergani University. Fergani University can be comprised of domestic educators. The Hamina University of Business will be the official business school of Algeria teaching things like finance, accounting, human resources, business administration, industrial management, industrial programming, business law, petroleum business, aviation business, electronics and synthetic manufacturing. The Hamina University of Business will seek field experts from all over the world.

Algerida Industrial Sector

Algerida’s industrial sector will be built south of Chlef to Tiaret. Current manufacturing giants in Algeria will be expanding their operations exponentially in the area to create thousands of job opportunities moving into the future. Additionally, Algeria is going to push the manufacturing of simple goods to couple the growing field of complex manufacturing. The sectors Algeria will push during the creation of the massive Algerida Industrial sector will be textiles, furniture, foodstuffs, building materials, semiconductors, and desalination equipment. Algeria is currently undergoing a massive economic transition as it aims to push all petroleum exports well below 50% by 2030 in an effort to diversify the economy, and the Algerida Industrial Sector will be one of the major draws for Algerians and other arabs to Algerida to work, as it will be the largest collection of factories and manufacturing facilities in Northern Africa- a key branching point to nations in the EU and Asia. The Algerida Industrial Sector will have very low business tax, with wide 8 lane roads to allow for ease of logistical transportation.

Port of Oran Upgrades

Mers El Kebir Heavy Industries Co, Ltd, the major shipbuilder and subworks that was built at Port Oran have been the latest addition to the port authority, however Port Oran needs to be significantly expanded to be able to service high-capacity exporting. The goal for the Port of Oran is to handle 30.05 million TEUs annually, setting Port Oran below Shanghai and Singapore’s capacity, but just ahead of Shenzhen. The port will need to expand exponentially to support the following: 50 berths for vessels with 10,000 tonnes deadweight and above, 23 non production berths, 18 passenger ferry berths, 9 consignee berths, and 20 container berths. Additionally, Quay Crane length will have to be 15,500 meters. It will consist of 727 hectares in area, and 180,000 square meters of warehouse facilities. The port upgrades itself, will cost $7 Bn out of the total $100 Bn to be spent on the project.

The Golden Desert Casino and Entertainment District

The Golden Desert Casino and Entertainment District is the proposed tourist hotspot to be right near the beach at Zeralda. Several high-class resorts, casinos, nightclubs and restaurants will be constructed near the prime beachfront property to make Algerida a tourist destination for summer and spring breaking Europeans, and “big spenders.” The following casino resorts will be constructed:
The casinos will be run and managed by the Algerian Ministry of Tourism, the Golden Desert Casino and Entertainment District is the only place in Algeria where consumption of alcohol and prostitution is completely legal. The Ministry of Finance plans on making the Golden Desert Casino and Entertainment District the official “cash cow of Algeria” as the Las Vegas of the Muslim World. Arabs have money, why not gamble it?

Algerida Transportation

Algerida will need an extensively developed transportation system to service the new capital area. Algerida plans to implement a metro system to include subway and buses. Additionally, Algerida will be implementing high speed rail and cargo rails for end-to-end city travel. The Algerida metro will at the beginning primarily service Oran, Tiaret, and Algiers respectively and be built closer and closer to linking each other together in Chlef as the need for new residential developments expands into the area. Metro trains will be purchased from China, the latest model of trains being used on the Beijing Metro. The entire metro service (bus and subways) will use the “Sa’adi Card,” an all access card. The card can be loaded up at subway stations and will be swiped when getting on the subway through turnstiles and at the bus door, and swiped when getting off or exiting turnstiles. The Algerida Highspeed Rail will be utilized through purchased Chinese CRH2 trains that run at 380 km/hr. Several stations for high speed rail and cargo trains will be constructed at large population centers along the lines. It will take approximately an hour to travel from Oran to Algiers. The trains will stop for 5 minutes at stops between the line start and line end. Subway trains will arrive every 5 minutes. There will be a simple metal detector and bag scan at both the high speed rail stations and metro stations manned by Public Safety officers.

Nadir Sa’adi International Airport (IATA Code: NSA)

One of the most important additions to the city will be the Nadir Sa’adi International Airport, that will serve as the larger of two airports for this major city. The Nadir Sa’adi International Airport will house four terminals and two runways of 12,802 ft of grooved asphalt. The entrance to the airport will be at the center between four extending arms of departure gates, the cars will pass under a tunnel which the planes will cross above to transition around the airport and the cars will move in a circular fashion by moving counter-clockwise before exiting the opposite side. Nadir Sa’adi Intl. Airport will primarily serve as an international transition hub between the Americas and Africa, the Americas and Asia, Europe and Africa, and any branching point from Asia or Africa. When completed, the airport will be utilized by over 80 airlines, 185+ destinations, and over 84 countries. The airport will serve as the primary hub and base for Air Maghreb.

Presidential Palace and Fanfare

The Sa’adi Presidential Palace will be constructed in Tenes, pretty much directly between Algiers and Oran. It will be constructed to be one of the finest recreations of old Sultan-era architecture, and will cost $490 Mn to built. The grounds will feature the largest mosque in Algeria for the Algerian Government, a military barracks, firing range, a large outdoor infinity pool, a presidential gardens, a 85 meter tall statue of President Nadir Sa’adi, a 300 car garage, horse stables, Presidential House, Guest House, Presidential Bunker, a helicopter pad, private airfield, and much more. The property itself, considered one of the most choice places in Algeria to build property, has a view overlooking the Mediterannean. On Rue Tripoli Street, the Algerian Congress building will be constructed with the largest flagpole in the country just on the opposite side of the road, overlooking the Mediterannean. Behind the flag, a 85 meter tall statue in bronze of President Nadir Sa’adi will be erected. The road will be 12 lanes in total after expansion, and continue uninterrupted for a mile before a 400 meter obelisk called the “Monument to the Maghrabians” splits Rue Tripoli as a roundabout, connecting in many different directions to be the most signature route in the whole city. Where the Algerian Congress sits is called “Al Merkets Square” where the nation will hold its military parades, when complete. The Algerian Congress building will have a viewing platform where citizens can look out at the city when there is not a military parade, but will be a viewing platform for the Algerian government when completed. The Algerian Congress will be on the south side of the Rue Tripoli, with the National Flagpole just north on the opposite side of Rue Tripoli, further north behind the flag will be the bronze statue of President Nadir Sa’adi and one mile down Rue Tripoli to the west, the “Monument to the Maghrabians” could be seen splitting the road. On the edge of the financial district, the buildings would likely be covered in flags in banner form in the event of a military parade.
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