Joined: 23 August 2005
By Jon Swaine
Last Updated: 3:40PM GMT 11 Nov 2008
' He was known as "O'Bomber" at high school for his skill at basketball
' His name means "one who is blessed" in Swahili
' His favourite meal is wife Michelle's shrimp linguini
' He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his memoir, Dreams From My Father
' He is left-handed ' the sixth post-war president to be left-handed
' He has read every Harry Potter book
' He owns a set of red boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali
' He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager and now can't stand ice cream
' His favourite snacks are chocolate-peanut protein bars
' He ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshopper while living in Indonesia
' He can speak Spanish
' While on the campaign trail he refused to watch CNN and had sports channels on instead
' His favourite drink is black forest berry iced tea
' He promised Michelle he would quit smoking before running for president ' he didn't
' He kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia
' He can bench press an impressive 200lbs
' He was known as Barry until university when he asked to be addressed by his full name
' His favourite book is Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
' He visited Wokingham, Berks, in 1996 for the stag party of his half-sister's fianc', but left when a stripper arrived
' His desk in his Senate office once belonged to Robert Kennedy
' He and Michelle made $4.2 million ('2.7 million) last year, with much coming from sales of his books
' His favourite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
' He carries a tiny Madonna and child statue and a bracelet belonging to a soldier in Iraq for good luck
' He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at Harvard but was rejected by the all-female committee.
' His favourite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and The Fugees
' He took Michelle to see the Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing on their first date
' He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker
' He doesn't drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol
' He would have liked to have been an architect if he were not a politician
' As a teenager he took drugs including marijuana and cocaine
' His daughters' ambitions are to go to Yale before becoming an actress (Malia, 10) and to sing and dance (Sasha, 7)
' He hates the youth trend for trousers which sag beneath the backside
' He repaid his student loan only four years ago after signing his book deal
' His house in Chicago has four fire places
' Daughter Malia's godmother is Jesse Jackson's daughter Santita
' He says his worst habit is constantly checking his BlackBerry
' He uses an Apple Mac laptop
' He drives a Ford Escape Hybrid, having ditched his gas-guzzling Chrysler 300
' He wears $1,500 ('952) Hart Schaffner Marx suits
' He owns four identical pairs of black size 11 shoes
' He has his hair cut once a week by his Chicago barber, Zariff, who charges $21 ('13)
' His favourite fictional television programmes are Mash and The Wire
' He was given the code name "Renegade" by his Secret Service handlers
' He was nicknamed "Bar" by his late grandmother
' He plans to install a basketball court in the White House grounds
' His favourite artist is Pablo Picasso
' His speciality as a cook is chilli
' He has said many of his friends in Indonesia were "street urchins"
' He keeps on his desk a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg, a Kenyan symbol of the fragility of life
' His late father was a senior economist for the Kenyan government
Joined: 23 August 2005
By Mark Anstead
Last Updated: 5:01PM GMT 14 Nov 2008
Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, 33, found herself at the centre of a controversy last year after racist comments made by some contestants on Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother. Here she tells Mark Anstead about taking a spiritual approach to finance.
I'm a bit of a shopaholic. I've been working in the Bollywood film industry since I was 17 and I have always been financially independent, but I think I would be useless looking after my own money. I live with my parents in Bombay and my financial affairs are taken care of by my father.
He knows exactly where to invest and I have unconditional faith in the decisions he takes. If it were left up to me I would squander it, but I like to think I'm not too bad. I like to treat myself, but I know where to draw the line. I'm happy to spend on nice things, for example, but I don't splurge unreasonably on things I don't need.
Oh no! (Laughs.) That's a very mean question! I'm presented with a lot of perks so some of my handbags were gifts. I'm in love with Louis Vuitton, but I also have a Birkin and I'll admit that was very expensive. I had to pay a premium because they are not easily available and it ended up costing about 5,500, but there are bags and there are bags. I wouldn't buy an expensive diamond encrusted handbag, for example, or one made of crocodile skin. I know where to draw the line.
No, I'm not that bad. I know exactly what's coming in and I know how much I've made at the end of the tax year. When I need money I only have to ask, or usually just spend it on my credit cards.
No, what I mean by my father being in control is that he invests it for me in my name and he tells me where he is putting it. It's all very transparent – he has invested in mutual funds and in property and he uses an investment consultant, the same one who advises the whole of my family.
I do the shopping and I let my dad handle the rest. I talk to him every day because we live in the same house. He knows when people need to be paid and he pays my staff and we've got the whole thing working on autopilot. He puts cheques to sign in front of me and I can see where each one is going, so there's no reason to discuss it unless he wants to make a new investment, and then he will come and tell me what he is doing differently.
I don't follow it too closely, but my father hasn't had to tell me I'm losing money. In Bombay property prices haven't dropped by too much. They say even if you invest in a hole over here the price will still go up. Bombay is one of those places – it's considered the third most expensive location in the world.
I am sure the value of some of my funds must have gone down, but I also know my father sold some earlier in the year so we have missed the biggest drop. I trust he knows when to put the cash back in.
Yes, I know he holds some of my money on deposit. I'm not particularly worried about what's been happening with the banks lately because I feel I'm only with good ones. Some of my accounts are with HSBC, for example, and they seem safe enough.
That's a very interesting question. First of all, from a spiritual perspective I don't think anyone needs to be apologetic about being successful or having money. The more successful you are, the more job opportunities you create for other people.
But I have high personal values and I will not compromise or do anything I'm uncomfortable with just to make money. Some people play dirty and if you do that it will have repercussions. If you keep a clean heart with your money you will have a clean karmic cycle, but the day you do something negative to another person that karmic circle will start to bring you down.
I belong to a movement called the Oneness University who expect things in the financial environment to get worse before 2012. It's very logical – the world is overpopulated and we suffer things like global warming and poverty as a result. The only way to achieve balance is to let nature take its course through natural calamities.
The financial crisis is a kind of natural calamity in the economic system and its purpose is to restore balance.
I think it's important to be satisfied with our lives. If you're unhappy at home it will affect you in your workplace and that will affect how successful you are. We need to strike a better home/work balance.
If you're just running after money all the time, it will make you unhappy and bad things may have to happen to wake you up from your false dreams. I believe there are many people in the West who are always inundated with work and forget to have a life. In a way, for them, this financial downturn can be their wake-up call.
I visualise what I want through meditation. The process of meditating is a great way of making sure I have my priorities sorted. It's not about money – I focus on my career and the kind of film projects I want to do. Film-making is a passion for me and my mantra is that you should do what you love and the money will follow.
I was brought up in a middle-class household and I saw my parents working hard, which made me value money. I watched them grow their own business selling tamper-free bottle tops to the pharmaceutical industry and they came up in life the hard way. My sister and I always had whatever we needed, but we weren't spoiled. I grew up to believe money is a necessity, but it is not everything.
I've seen a lot of relationships fall apart over money. I have had my fair share of people trying to take advantage of me for what they thought they could gain. For example, I had to pay a 5,000 introduction fee to the person who mediated with Channel 4 for me so that I went on Big Brother.
It was fine by me, but nobody expected me to win and when I came out of the house I discovered the person concerned had been telling everyone she was my booking agent. And the person who introduced me to her was also doing interviews in India explaining how he got me into Big Brother. It was a mess.
Luckily, I have a boyfriend, Raj Kundra, who is an entrepreneur in London and doing extremely well for himself. We've already gone into a business venture together – we have opened a spa in Bombay and we have plans for more all over India.
We are not married and we have a very clear demarcation: my share comes to me and is invested by my parents and his share goes to him. But I am convinced I have found my soul mate and when we marry I am sure we will throw everything together.
My mum and dad have a joint bank account and Raj is the kind of person who likes to do everything together anyway. What's the use of having all the money in the world if you don't trust the person you are with?
From an emotional point of view, I'd say a Chopard watch I bought eight years ago. At that point it was the most expensive thing I had ever bought for myself – it was 6,000 – but I still have it because it was the first symbol of success that I allowed myself to buy.
From the perspective of a good investment, I'd say my home in Bombay, which I bought 10 years ago with my parents. We have six bedrooms across a two-storey apartment and the value has definitely gone up at least three times since we bought it.
I have four or five. I'm constantly using my American Express and my HSBC ones and in India I only need those two. But when I'm abroad I need two or three others as well because everything I buy is more expensive and I need more cards to soak up a larger credit limit.
I'm getting a Centurion card very soon and then I won't have to worry about any limits. All my cards get paid off at the end of the month – my father handles that.
I think all my investments are a kind of pension because they are all for my future, but I don't invest in any other way to take advantage of any tax breaks.
Joined: 23 August 2005
Joined: 12 November 2006
Joined: 12 November 2006
Joined: 23 August 2005
On the lighter side... enjoy this
President Bush is said to be hiding from the media until the elections are over so he won't hurt McCain's chances. Apparently, he's hiding where nobody expects him to be, at the White House library. (Pedro Bartes)
Barack Obama is now gonna receive the daily White House intelligence briefing on things like, you know, security and terrorism, stuff like that. It's the same briefing President Bush gets every day, but without the pictures and the color by numbers. (Jay Leno)
President-elect Barack Obama, will make his promise good and get a rescue puppy for his two young daughters. So far they have in mind a runaway dog name Lieberman, a terrier named Bill Ayers, or a bitch pit bull named Sarah. (Pedro Bartes)
Barack Obama was briefed this morning on the state of the economy, and this afternoon, he called McCain to offer him the presidency. (Craig Ferguson)
President-elect Barack Obama spent the day thanking the people who helped him win the election. That's right. Yeah, and actually, Obama's first phone call was to Sarah Palin. (Conan O'Brien)
One touching moment the other night during Barack Obama's speech. Oprah was crying, did you see that? Jesse Jackson was crying. Hillary Clinton was crying. I think Hillary's still crying, if I'm not mistaken. (Jay Leno)
FOX news reported today that the election never happened. It was all just a dream. (Tim Hunter)
And political analysts are saying today that Barack Obama's win was unprecedented. Which again confused President Bush. He said, "Unprecedented? You mean, he didn't win? He got unpresidented? " (Jay Leno)
At the end of the evening, the electoral vote count was 349 for Obama, 148 for McCain. Or, as Fox News says, too close to call. (David Letterman)
People all over the world were celebrating Obama's victory. Sarah Palin watched the Russians celebrating from her house. (Craig Ferguson)
Barack Obama and Democrats will gain control of Congress and the White House. World reaction is pouring in. Australia 's prime minister offered political asylum, safe passage and new identities to Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin. (Argus Hamilton )
According to recent news reports, Bill Clinton has now become an adviser to Barack Obama. Bill Clinton is giving advice to Barack Obama. Do you know who is really upset about this? Michelle Obama. (Jay Leno)
Democrat Barack Obama came up a big winner in the presidential race in Dixville Notch , N.H. , where the nation's first Election Day votes were cast and counted early Tuesday. I don't want to say it's over, but if you check e-Bay, someone in Alaska is selling designer clothing. (Pedro Bartes)
Set your clocks back an hour this weekend. I'm thinking, great idea — if there's one thing we need it's an extra hour of 2008. President Bush has already set the clocks back — to 1929, thank you. (David Letterman)
Don't forget to turn your clocks back. It's the end of Daylight Savings. That's too bad — that's all the saving most Americans have now. (Craig Ferguson)
Most of the newspapers with the picture of Obama on the cover were sold out Wednesday morning. Democrats wanted a picture of Obama to remember a historic moment, Republicans wanted a picture to use as target for shooting practice. (Pedro Bartes)
Barack Obama was joined on stage by Bruce Springsteen in Ohio on Sunday. There was one tense moment when somebody in the audience yelled out "Born in the USA " and Obama said, "For the last time, yes, I was!" (Jimmy Kimmel)
Right about now, John McCain is at home saying, "If only I didn't anger Dave, if only I didn't anger Dave." (David Letterman)
A Republican operative has accused Sarah Palin of being unsure that Africa is a continent. Although she reportedly was 99 percent certain that McCain is incontinent. (Marc Ragovin)
A lot of speculation about Sarah Palin's future, but last night, she denied rumors that she's getting ready to run for president in 2012. Palin said: "That's a long time away. I'll be a great-grandmother by then." (Conan O'Brien)
Last night, after Barack Obama was declared the winner, President Bush called Obama and promised to work with him to guarantee a smooth transition. When we heard this, Obama said, "Thanks, but you've done enough." (Conan O'Brien)
New York Mayor Bloomberg wants to charge shoppers six cents every time they use a plastic bag. Enforcing morality through taxation is not a new idea, and it's expected to grow as New York 's cash-hungry government imposes levies on other harmful substances such as butterfat, sugar, and the New York Times. (Scot Witt)
With Obama's victory, Republicans are finally going to have the war they have wished for such a long time. Unfortunately the war is going to be within the Republican Party. (Pedro Bartes)
Assistant Secretary for Immigration Julie Myers has resigned. She just doesn't have any more work to do now that the economy has tanked and no one is immigrating to America anymore. (Jake Novak)
If this week has taught us anything, it's taught us that America 's a place where anything is possible, except maybe the Detroit Lions winning a football game. (Jay Leno)
Joined: 12 November 2006
Joined: 12 November 2006
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