At The “Ride Along” NewYork Premiere

Chalet Grande Roche in the French Alps

SO FRESH!!!

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 Chalet Grande Roche in the French Alps welcomes guest within its spacious 7 bedrooms just a stone throw away from Courchevel 1850′s main distractions.

The four-level luxury ski chalet sleeps up to 15 people comfortably. It offers both privacy and a collection of relaxing social spaces to unwind after a day of adventures. Tastefully decorated and immersed in natural colors, the chalet pampers international guests with a spa area, steam room, gym and a cinema room.

Louis Vuitton introduces five new crocodile and alligator handbags starting at $10,000

LV has released five new crocodile and alligator bags – ranging in price from $9,950 for the Rossmore PM to $31,000 Deesse MM Crocodile Tote. These ultra luxurious bags are part of Louis Vuitton’s stated plan to try and capture a larger segment of the high-end consumer market.

The interesting take on the bags is that they lack the famed LV monogram stamped prominently on the side. Louis Vuitton is saying with these bags that luxury isn’t announced with a logo. Instead, the focus is on best-of-the-best design, quality and materials.

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El Chapo Guzman News: DEA Offered Sinaloa Cartel Members Immunity In Exchange For Information On Rivals

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmá leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

In a report published last week, El Universal confirmed long-standing rumors that the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has met and negotiated with members of Mexico’s feared Sinaloa Cartel, headed by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.  Between 2000 and 2012, the paper writes, DEA agents met more than 50 times with cartel members on Mexican territory, without the knowledge of Mexican authorities, to obtain information on rival drug gangs.  In exchange for that information – as long as it turned out to be true — the DEA offered an array of future benefits, including dropping charges pending against Sinaloa members.  That strategy was authorized by David Gaddis, then the DEA director of operations for the region.

El Universal wrote that its report was based on interviews with over 100 drug-enforcement officers from both the US and Mexico, prisoners and families of prisoners, and experts on the matter.  As Business Insider notes, the report is also the first to include court documents with on-record statements from DEA agent Manuel Castañón and Justice Department prosecutor Patrick H. Hearn about deals struck with the Sinaloa cartel.  Those records come from the 2010 trial in Chicago of Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, a Sinaloa operative and son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, a top cartel leader.

During the trial, Zambada Niebla’s lawyer had argued that he was entitled to immunity from arrest or prosecution because he had taken an active role in providing information to the DEA on rival cartels.  His arrest on drug-trafficking charges had come shortly after meeting with DEA agents.  The court recordsshow Hearn as saying he had authorized another agent, who had proposed a “sit-down meeting” with Zambada-Niebla, to go to Mexico to carry out the interview.  Castañón, who was also working on the case, told the court that in March 2009, I met for approximately 30 minutes in a hotel room in Mexico City with Vincente Zambada-Niebla and two other individuals — DEA agent David Herrod and a cooperating source [Sinaloa lawyer Loya Castro] with whom I had worked since 2005. … I did all of the talking on behalf of DEA.”

Edgardo Buscaglia, senior professor at the University of Colombia, told El Universal that the DEA had operated in a similar fashion in Colombia during the 1980s as well as in Cambodia, Thailand and Afghanistan, among other places.  “This modus operandi implies a violation of international public law, apart from being more fuel to the fire of the violence [in Mexico], with violations to due process and human rights,” Buscaglia opined.  A DEA spokesman declined to comment.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Write down 10 things you would do in your life if you had absolutely no fear. Then pick one of them and do it.”
-Steve Chandler

Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw Strike A 215 Million Deal

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw have agreed on a seven-year, $215 million deal, sources with knowledge of the situation said.

Kershaw has an out clause after five years.

It is the richest deal for a pitcher in Major League Baseball history, eclipsing the seven-year, $180 million contract Detroit gave Justin Verlander last winter and his average annual salary of $30.7 million is the highest ever for any baseball player.

The 25-year-old Kershaw has won two of the last three National League Cy Young Awards and a Roberto Clemente award for his charitable work.

Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, founded an orphanage in the African nation of Zambia called Hope’s Home that they visit every offseason. They co-wrote a book about their experiences last winter called, “Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find Yourself.”

Kershaw went 16-9 with a 1.83 ERA and 232 strikeouts last season, his sixth with the Dodgers. The left-hander has a 2.60 career ERA and recorded at least 212 strikeouts in each of the past four seasons.

Kershaw had recently completed a two year-$19 million deal. He filed for arbitration on Tuesday and could have become a free agent at the end of this season if the club had elected to go through the arbitration process and signed him to a one year deal.

The Dodgers never intended to let that happen however, as a source confirmed to ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney on Wednesday morning that they hoped to have a new contract in place before Friday’s arbitration hearing.

The Dodgers have long intended to keep Kershaw as the face of their franchise for the rest of his career. The team had discussions with Kershaw and his representatives for more than a year before coming to an agreement Wednesday. The length of the negotiations was more about Kershaw’s desire not to negotiate during the baseball season, a source said.

The team offered Kershaw a deal in the range of $300 million this past season, a source with knowledge of the talks told Olney in October. Although Kershaw initially was uncertain about committing to such a deal, the sides were confident that a long-term contract would be completed at some point in the offseason, according to the source.

The Dodgers now have five players with an average annual value of $20 million or more. Among active contracts (or contracts signed that have not yet started), the Dodgers now have five of the 22 largest average yearly salaries in the sport on the roster — Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp.

Kershaw wasn’t the only Dodgers player to enjoy news of the deal as catcher A.J. Ellis took to Twitter to congratulate the team’s ace.