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Chinese billionaire reported missing after buying French vinyard

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A Chinese billionaire in France to buy a major Bordeaux vineyard is missing after the helicopter he was travelling in apparently crashed into a river on Friday.

Lam Kok, the 46-year-old head of the Hong Kong-based Brilliant group, was surveying his new property from overhead in a helicopter piloted by the former owner James Gregoire when the accident happened.

His 12-year-old son and an interpreter were also on board, but Lam Kok’s wife pulled out at the last minute saying she was “scared of helicopters”, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

They were planning to take a short tour of the vineyard and the grounds of the Chateau de la Riviere, and when they did not return after 20 minutes, those who had stayed behind contacted emergency services.

A major search operation was launched using emergency helicopters and around 100 officers on foot.

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Inflatable boats were deployed after police received a call from a member of the public indicated the helicopter may have fallen into a nearby river, but no trace of the helicopter has yet been found.

In a bizarre twist of fate, a previous owner of the Chateau de la Riviere — one of the region’s oldest estates — was killed in a helicopter crash in 2002.

Gregoire bought the 65-hectare (160-acre) property, the largest in Bordeaux’s Fronsac appellation, the following year.

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Earlier Friday, the vineyard’s managing director Xavier Buffo said during a press conference the sale marked the largest Chinese investment in Bordeaux property to date.

Hong Kong-based Brilliant, which specialises in rare teas and luxury hotels in China, had said it wanted to turn the chateau into a high class tea and wine tasting centre.

The group, whose interests range from Pu’er — a dark fermented tea from China’s Yunnan region — to top-end resorts — also planned to build a hotel near the chateau.

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The Chinese have developed a taste for the finest French wines and their extensive buying power has been credited with pushing prices for certain vintages to record levels.

In recent years they have increasingly taken to buying vineyards as well. But the level of each transaction has generally been under 10 million euros ($13.6 million).

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Disney heiress who went undercover to Disneyland ‘livid’ at conditions and pay

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Heiress Abigail Disney went to one of her family's resorts to see conditions for workers herself and was disgusted by what she saw.

In comments to Yahoo News podcast "Through Her Eyes," Disney described how she went to Disneyland in California undercover and found that workers at the resort were treated poorly—and underpaid.

"Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, 'I don't know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people's garbage,'" said Disney.

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Ex-Peru president wanted for corruption arrested in the US

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Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo was arrested in the United States Tuesday to face extradition to his home country on corruption charges, authorities in the South American nation said.

The 73-year-old is suspected of involvement in the sprawling Odebrecht scandal in which the construction giant paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes throughout the continent to secure huge public works contracts.

The Peruvian attorney general's office announced on Twitter that Toledo "was arrested this morning for extradition, in the United States."

Toledo has been formally charged with receiving a $20 million payment from Odebrecht to grant it the tender to build the Interoceanic Highway that links Peru with Brazil.

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Comic-Con mines past for future hits on 50th edition

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A smorgasbord of sequels, prequels and reunions from "Terminator" to "Game of Thrones" awaits thousands of misty-eyed comic book geeks and sci-fi nerds descending on San Diego this week for the world's largest celebration of pop culture fandom.

The 50th edition of Comic-Con International will see 135,000 cosplayers, bloggers, movie executives and humble fans pile into a sweaty convention center for glimpses of their heroes, in town to promote the next mega-hit films, TV shows and comic books.

This anniversary edition promises to be more nostalgia-laden than most -- among those expected to appear are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, who will soon reunite on screen for the first time since 1991's "Terminator 2" for Paramount's killer cyborg sequel "Dark Fate."

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