predatory real estate agents – The Irish Times
Image of the week: Maui’s disaster capitalism
On the Hawaiian island of Maui survivors of the wildfires that engulfed the historic town of Lahaina are surrounded by grief and devastation. They need aid and donations to help rebuild their lives. What they don’t need is estate agents and property investors circling the charred scene to suggest they sell the land where their houses once stood and leave their hometown. And yet, in classic “disaster capitalism” fashion, that is what is happening.
“I just want to remind all you real estate investors around the world that Lahaina is not for sale. Please don’t reach out to these families and take advantage of them,” Maui resident Tiare Lawrence told US network NBC earlier this week. “Disgusting” was the word she used for this property speculation.
Lahaina will be “a part of Hawaii forever”, the Democratic governor of Hawaii, Josh Green sought to assure: “We don’t want it to be another example of people being priced out of paradise.”
But there is real fear that developers will be permitted to exploit delays in insurance payouts and government assistance and make a profit out of Maui’s tragedy, and is based not only on what is happening on the ground but on a lengthening list of similar incidents, as documented by the author Naomi Klein in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine. The premise is simple: in people’s most desperate hour, there is a buck to be made.
In numbers: Rouble trouble
Main interest rate in Russia after its central bank imposed a 3.5 percentage point rate increase on Tuesday, putting the rate hike enthusiasm of central banks closer to home in the shade.
Months since the rouble had last sunk as low versus the dollar. It was this fresh weakening in the currency that prompted the Russian central bank’s intervention on Monday.
Drop in the value of the rouble versus the dollar this year, as Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine continues to drain the Russian economy. Capital controls may now beckon.
Getting to know: Elena Zhukova
Putting his brief engagement to Ann Lesley Smith behind him, Rupert Murdoch (92) has a new special friend. She is Elena Zhukova (66), the mother of Dasha Zhukova, who in turn is the ex-wife of former Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich.
Murdoch, according to the Daily Mail, is not only dating the “beautiful retired scientist”, he has been cruising the Mediterranean with her, first on rented “legendary superyacht” Christina O – once the property of Greek shipping magnate (and second Mr Jackie O) Aristotle Onassis – and then on a “second unidentified yacht”.
The media mogul is said to have met Zhukova through his third wife Wendi Deng, who is good friends with daughter Dasha. For the benefit of anyone not up to speed on the relationship status of Abramovich’s ex-wives, Dasha is now remarried to Stavros Niarchos, the grandson of Onassis’s great shipping rival and heir to his fortune.
Elena Zhukova is a twice-divorced molecular biologist and diabetes specialist who left Russia with her daughter in 1991, moving to the US, where she most recently worked at a medical research unit in Californian university UCLA. But does she fancy being the fifth Mrs Murdoch?
The list: Women’s World Cup winners
The Fifa Women’s World Cup final between Spain and England beckons after a cracking tournament laden with drama, skill, controversy, excellent memes and dubious crowd songs. Obviously, women’s football – and by extension the sporting ambitions of all girls – has been the main winner. But who else can claim victory?
1 Sky and Cadbury: The sponsors of the Ireland team and RTÉ’s television coverage respectively have endeared themselves to generations of Irish women and hopefully a few men too.
2 Australia’s Channel Seven: Both Australia and New Zealand appear to have enjoyed their time as co-hosts, but the Matildas’ extended penalty shoot-out against France brought the highest sport ratings in decades to Australia’s Channel Seven.
3 GoFundMe: The Jamaican team, following a dispute with their national federation, turned to crowdfunding to make it to the World Cup and duly qualified out of their group to reach the last 16. A win for football and GoFundMe.
4 Booking.com: As one of the tournament sponsors, the Amsterdam-headquartered travel company’s URL is highly visible pitchside every match, reminding viewers that, yes, they do need to go on holiday.
5 Jacob’s Creek: The Australian wine brand, hic, is an official supporter, hic, of the Fifa Women’s World Cup, hic. Good on ya, Jacob.