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In the Papers: 26.02.08. Which country would you buy?

Economic crises and the destruction of literary landmarks? Some good must come of this... and come it has in the shape of a miniature Greece.

Amazing! A ‘Belgian Baron’ has bought 'Greece', in Dubai’s ‘The World’ development for £10 million, reports The Times. I’ve been playing the ‘which-nation-would-you-buy’ game with various friends and, embarrassingly, strangers on a train since the development was announced years ago.

It comes at a strange time, this news, as a 12m-high, 178-year-old cylindrical tower that ‘inspired’ novelists PD James and Thomas Hardy at Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset is falling into the ocean – as reported by both The Times and the Telegraph, who used the story as the hook for an apocalyptic rant on climate change’s destruction of cultural bastions. Down come the landmarks of Britain, and borne of the ashes are developments in Dubai shaped like nations and plants… We’ll be remembered so well.

What else is down? Still spiralling: the property market, as the Telegraph reports that mega-developer Hammerson says demand for new space in the office market is slow and is exhibiting decreased share-prices. Foreign investors may be losing faith in the London property market. According to the Guardian, Japanese developer Kajima is selling off its share of the leasehold interest in One London Wall to German insurer Hansainvast. Foreign developers jumping ship is never a good sign.

The London Evening Standard mentions that inflation has begun to ‘oustrip’ house prices, focusing on the plight of six London boroughs: Waltham Forest, Havering, Redbridge, Southwark, Greenwich and Lambeth.

Last of the ‘down’ news: the Global Seed Vault has been inaugurated in Longyearbyen, Norway, just near the Arctic Circle. The Guardian publishes a large photograph of the site, really just a concrete rectangular entrance block leading to the below-ground facility. It will house ‘4.5 million agricultural seeds in case of war, climate change, natural disaster and failing biodiversity’. Talk about glass half-empty.

But hey, what goes down must come up, right? What country will you buy?

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