Theyre some deny excuse

Follow us at pic.twitter.com/NLX95lkVgb— Alex Thomas (@alexthomascnn) April 7, 2014

Its a bit of a transitional period and its something us in England will have to get used to because some of the best players that we have as young players are at the top clubs, he added.
Because theyre at the top clubs in the country, theyre competing with the very best that the foreign market can sell to us.
Its harder for them because theyre competing with other world stars.

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England was heavily criticized for its poor showing in South Africa four years ago after going out in the second round following a humiliating defeat by Germany.
Fabio Capello, who coached that particular team, told CNN last month that England will never succeed at the World Cup because its players play too many games.
While Hodgson accepts that Capellos assertion has some truth, he refuses to accept that tiredness will derail his teams chances of success in Brazil.
Of course, you cant say he (Capello) is wrong in saying that but its a fact of life we can do nothing about, Hodgson told CNN.
Tournaments are played in the summer and played very, very quickly after a long season ends. We also cannot deny that the Premier League is a more intensive league than many others –its probably the most if Im brutally honest.
Weve got that problem to deal with but all we can do is to accept it and try not to use it as an excuse.
We will try to do everything we can during our time together to make sure we dont treat everybody the same.
Perhaps if a player has played more games than another or a bit more tired than another then maybe we can take that into account.
But having said that, Im pretty certain thats been done in the past as well. Theres no guarantee that will be the ultimate solution — but its the only thing we can do.
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cut of injury davis

(CNN) — The calendar said March, but Monday clearly was Valentines day — James Valentine, to be specific — when the 21-year-old Pennsylvania man survived a work accident that sent the razor-sharp teeth of a chainsaw blade deep into his neck and shoulder, and barely a centimeter from a vital artery.
Thanks to quick but cautious work by his colleagues and medical responders, 30 stitches and an hour of surgery, a day after the accident Valentine was recovering in stable condition at a Pennsylvania hospital.
He looks more like himself, hes walking and talking today, Valentines sister, Becca, told CNN on Tuesday. We cant believe it at all.

Pennsylvania man James Valentine, 21, cut it close after a chainsaw blade entered his neck missing a vital artery by a mere centimeter, according to a doctor Tuesday.

Valentine was on his job with Adler Tree Service in Gibsonia, north of Pittsburgh, and was performing maintenance work on a pine tree when the chainsaw kicked back, Becca Valentine said.
The blade sawed into flesh instead of wood. Valentines co-workers were able to detach the blade from its motor, but they left the blade and chain where it was — in Valentine, about a quarter of an inch from the carotid artery that supplies blood to the head — and they held the blade in place until emergency responders arrived.
On the ambulance ride to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Valentine was awake and alert, according to hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Davis.
The hospitals director of trauma, Dr. Christine Toevs, said the trauma unit had 10 minutes to prepare — to get ready for a man coming up with a chainsaw blade in his neck.
We prepare for the worst. The unit expects the injuries to be catastrophic, she said of trauma work in general.
Toevs said this kind of injury could usually cause major damage or sever the spinal cord, esophagus, or the airway. Instead, Valentine sustained most of his injuries to muscles and soft tissue around the shoulder, rather than his neck.
After Valentine was stabilized and anesthetized, doctors removed the blade. There was no major blood loss; the blade had missed that vital carotid artery by a mere centimeter, Toevs said.

Global released escort to logistics

Going Global showcases entrepreneurs taking their businesses around the world, tackling issues like business strategy, marketing and international logistics.
(CNN)escort Global wine production is booming with vineyards springing up everywhere from China to the United States, Chile and New Zealand.
But when a recent report authored by Morgan Stanley Research predicted a looming global wine shortage, vinophiles took to social media to express their dismay over the bleak news.
The report stated that the international demand for wine outweighed production by 300 million cases in 2012 — dropping to its lowest point in over 40 years.
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With worldwide consumption jumping by 1% last year, the researchers concluded demand could overtake supply in the coming years pushing the price of wine up.
As the viticulture chaos ensued, Frances International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) released their very own forecast report that countered Morgan Stanleys analysis.
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While Morgan Stanleys figures werent incorrect, per se, their forecast did not take into account 2013s production levels which actually show a return to 2006 production levels, a healthy state of production for the industry. Whats more — Spain, Italy, France and Chile produced record wine levels in 2013.
Its how you interpret those figures. For all intents and purposes, for those of us in the West who are consumers, no — there is not going to be a wine shortage, says Felicity Carter, editor-in-chief of Meiningers Wine Business International magazine.
The question is whether there is going to be a wine shortage for consumers in markets that are extremely price sensitive — like parts of Eastern Europe — because the cheaper wine that they drink will be diverted to bulk up wine that goes into big consumption markets.
Carter echoes the OIV report pointing to the significant increase in production in EU countries like Croatia, Greece, Hungary and Romania and if vineyards from these areas could find stronger distribution avenues within the international market, there will be plentiful bottles to go around.
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The question is whether there is going to be a wine shortage for consumers in markets that are extremely price sensitive.
Felicity Carter, editor-in-chief of Meiningers Wine Business International
With poor wine harvests in recent years thanks to erratic weather from climate change, Carter acknowledges this could impact wine production levels. While consumers are not going to see a drastic price difference when purchasing wine from supermarkets, she says it all depends on the region of wine.
The Burgundy harvest and the Bordeaux harvest this year have been abysmal … If you wanted wine from the 2013 Burgundy or some parts of France, youre going to have a big problem. You will probably pay a lot more for those wines, she explains.
The question is can you substitute other types of wine for those? Now, the answer is yes.
She adds: Morgan Stanley, by the way, were not wrong in what they said. They did use very good figures and they do know what they are talking about but the world of wine is just so complex.

Sevilla disaster game kick

(CNN) — Perhaps the most frightening statistic attached to Lionel Messi is the fact that hes only 26.
Another day, another record broken.
Messi became Barcelonas all-time leading scorer Sunday after his hat-trick helped Tata Martinos team to a 7-0 victory over Osasuna.

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Messi, who has now scored 371 goals, eclipsed the record set by Paulino Alcantara, who scored 369 goals in 357 appearances between 1912-1927.
It is the sixth consecutive season in which he has scored 30 goals — not bad for a man who has been accused of not reaching the exorbitant levels which he has set in years past.
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His 25th hat-trick for Barcelona ensured his side moved to win four points of league leader Real Madrid ahead of El Clasico next weekend.
Osasuna simply had no answer to Barcelonas attacking prowess as the home side thrashed its lowly opponent.
Alexis Sanchez, Andres Iniesta, Cristian Tello and Pedro were all on target at Camp Nou.

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Messis first hat-trick since the Champions League win over Ajax in September 2013 could scarcely have come at a better time for Barca.
Martinos men must gain a result at Real next weekend to have any chance of retaining its league title
I think we can beat Real Madrid in the Bernabeu and that would put us right in the fight for La Liga, Sanchez told Canal Plus.
Both teams will see themselves as favorites, they are the two biggest clubs in the world and it will be a great game. We are going to the Bernabeu with only the intention of winning.
Elsewhere, Sevilla defeated Real Valladolid 4-1 and Real Sociedad recorded a 1-0 victory over Valencia.
Misery for Milan
Meanwhile, in Italy, AC Milan fell to a third consecutive league defeat which all but ends its chances of qualifying for European competition next season.
Milan, 12th, was beaten 4-2 by Parma with Antonio Cassano scoring twice on a painful afternoon for the Rossoneri.
The game couldnt have started much worse for Milan, which lost goalkeeper Christian Abbiati inside the opening nine minutes.
Abbiati was adjudged to have brought down Ezequiel Schelotto and was promptly dismissed before Cassano slotted away the penalty.
Cassano added a second after the interval but Milan rallied and Adil Rami headed home Kakas corner to give the home side hope.
And when Mario Balotelli equalized with 14 minutes remaining from the penalty spot, the comeback looked on for Clarence Seedorfs side.
But disaster struck just two minutes later when Amauri flicked home Schelottos cross to restore Parmas lead.
Jonathan Biabianys diving header in the fifth minute of stoppage time sealed the win and condemned Milan to yet more misery.
Milan, which was dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid last week, is now 11 points behind Parma, which sits in the first Europa League spot.
Meanwhile, Juventus grabbed a dramatic late victory at Genoa thanks to Andrea Pirlos 89th minute free kick.
Genoa gave the league leader a fierce fight before going down 1-0 — a result which leaves Juventus 17 points clear at the top of Serie A.
Elsewhere, Lazio claimed a 2-0 win at Cagliari, Sassuolo beat Catania 3-1 and Fiorentina defeated Chievo by the same scoreline.
Monaco menace
In France, Monaco kept up the pressure on league leader Paris Saint-Germain with a 3-2 win at Lyon.
Valere Germain, James Rodriguez and Dimitar Berbatov got the goals for Monaco, which sits second in the table.
Jimmy Briand scored twice for Lyon which finishes the weekend in fifth place.
PSG gained a 2-0 win over Saint Etienne in the days late game courtesy of two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
In the days early game, Montpellier drew 1-1 with Bordeaux.

The since said here

Los Angeles (CNN) — Juana Vidal yearns to reunite with her undocumented immigrant son and his family, but she fears the stakes involved.
Her son, Elesban Vidal, his wife and their two daughters will join as many as 125 families that will try to cross the California-Mexico border on Monday and demand that U.S. officials allow them back in the country to join with their U.S. relatives through a humanitarian visa or asylum.
Most, if not all, of the 125 families had earlier lived in the United States as undocumented immigrants, including some who were earlier deported.

Deportees stuck in border purgatory

The dramatic maneuver by so many families is designed to renew attention to how the U.S. immigration system painfully breaks up families when members are deported for being undocumented immigrants.
The families will stage their event on the Mexico side of the Otay Mesa point of entry, between San Diego and Tijuana.
Im very worried. Im nervous. I sometimes cant sleep because Im thinking something could happen to them, Juana Vidal said.
Thats the feeling Juana Vidal has had since she found out a few weeks ago that her son and his family will be attempting to return from Puebla, Mexico, where they have been living the past two years.
Hes afraid but says he will try to see if hes able to come back, Juana Vidal, 56, said in an interview in her Los Angeles home. She spends her time caring for her other U.S.-born grandchildren.
She will anxiously wait on the U.S. side of the Otay Mesa crossing to see if her son and his family will be admitted.
Her son and his wife had been living in the United States as undocumented immigrants, but they were never arrested and voluntarily returned to Mexico after he couldnt find a decent job.
Their two daughters, however, were born in the United States and are American citizens, and the Vidal family hopes the citizen status of the two girls, ages 3 and 5, will help their visa applications so that grandparents can be reunited with grandchildren and their parents. Elesban Vidal also wants to unite his family with his siblings, who live in the United States.
The family wont find Mondays quest easy, experts say.
The event is part of the Bring them Home campaign led by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA), which calls itself an undocumented youth-led network of groups that tries to reunite families.
Its incredible that we have to rely on actions like this, said Luis Nolasco, a member of NIYA. There are so many families that want a way to come back. The reality should be that they should be able to come back an easier way and its not happening,
Nolasco says everyday hundreds of families are being separated under President Barack Obamas administration. Almost 2 million undocumented immigrants have been deported since the President took office five years ago, he said.
Mondays action will be the third and largest event staged so far by the alliance.
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What happens is people will present themselves at the border and will be asked to be let back into the country because this is their home for lot of them, Nolsaco said.
Immigrants who have not been able to obtain a visa for entry can apply for an alternative visa known as humanitarian parole, according to the Department of Homeland Security website. These types of visas allow foreign residents to come into the country based on their particular situation.
However, immigration lawyers say humanitarian parole isnt an easy document to obtain and that its granted case-by-case.
Its a benefit thats given to individuals that want to come to the United States, generally for emergency reasons. Its applied either with United States Citizenship Immigration Services or with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Border, said Nelson Castillo, a California-based immigration lawyer.
Castillo said humanitarian parole is granted to those with true emergency or medical situations where they have to explain to an officer at the border why they want to be received by the United States.
Generally they have to prove that they have tried to obtain a way to come in lawfully into the United States and they will have to plead out their case to what is the valid reason, the emergency, Castillo said.
Long-lost son, 37, to finally see mother after 35 years abroad
The National Immigrant Youth Alliance says these families have the right to come back to this country, as many have children who are U.S. citizens.
They lived here, they grew up here, and studied here. This is their community and this is their home and they dont recognize Mexico as their home country. Just because they were born there doesnt mean its their home, said Nolasco.
The alliances other two efforts to reunite families involved nine young adults and 30 young adults — all of them who once lived in the United States as undocumented immigrants but had left the country for one reason or another, including through deportation.
Those two groups used the current political coinage of Dreamers to describe themselves — that is, young immigrants in the United States without documentation. Dreamer is a moniker taken after an acronym of immigration reform legislation.
The first run had nine Dreamers, second round had 30 and this time we are including families and parents in this round, Nolasco said.
In the first two rounds, U.S. immigration officials detained all the participants and then released them, the alliance said. The majority obtained approval to stay temporarily in the United States and are awaiting for their day before an immigration judge, who will determine their fate.
The Vidal family is nervous about the alliances latest effort.
Elesban Vidal, 32, was undocumented, like his parents, when they brought him to the United States at age 6.
The family lived in Southern California near Compton, where Juana Vidal raised all five of her children. They attended Los Angeles schools and consider the United States their home country.
But Juana Vidal said Elesban returned to Mexico two years ago because he couldnt find a job and he thought he could find more opportunity in Mexico.
That didnt happen, the mother said.
Her son didnt qualify for the Obama initiative called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program because he didnt meet all the requirements that would have allowed him temporary permission to remain in the states, the mother said.
He told me the situation is hard, very hard in Mexico, Juana Vidal said. He cant get ahead, sometimes theres days he has a job and theres other days he doesnt and he tries to get by. But he regrets he left.
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We threats excuse said

(CNN) — It was the threats that took the fun out of Family Funday.
A Muslim group had sold more than 4,000 tickets to the private event, set for this Sunday at a theme park in suburban London, when park officials canceled it last week.
This week, officials went a step further, also closing the 150-acre parks 150-room hotel for the weekend, a park spokeswoman said Thursday.
The event was to have been held at Legoland Windsor Resort, 30 miles west of London. It was to have been open to people from all faiths and cultures in an open and welcoming environment without the promotion of any particular ideology, according to the website for the Muslim Research and Development Foundation.
But now — after critics of the group filled the parks Facebook page with threats — its not open to anybody.
Sadly, our right-wing extremists took a huge offense to it, park spokeswoman Liz Edwards said. Its the saddest thing.
The hotels closure was also based on concern over safety, she said. We wanted to just ensure that the whole site was secure, Edwards said.
Those who had booked rooms were given refunds, but the move didnt satisfy Sarah Shenton Plews, who posted on the parks Facebook page that she was Extremely upset! and asked, Can u arrange for someone to come round and tell my 5 yr & 8 yr???! Well??
In response to the posting, the hotel cited the threats: Your Safety and security is our number one priority so weve made the decision to close the whole Resort, including the Hotel for the weekend.
Legoland said it took down its Facebook page for a couple of days at the request of the Thames Valley Police.
The Muslim Research and Development Foundation cited far-right groups linked to the English Defence League and Christian patrols for the decision to cancel. We should not be intimidated by violent threats to our way of life, the group said, adding its a charity that has consistently promoted nonviolence.
Unfortunately, during the last few weeks leading up to the event, several right-wing groups including the (English Defence League) and Casuals United along with others threatened both the visitors and employees of Legoland in relation to this planned event. They threatened staff at Legoland, staff at MRDF and aimed to disrupt families on the day of the event.
The Muslim group did not immediately return a call and e-mail seeking further comment.
A posting on Casuals Uniteds blog denied its members had made any threats. We are hardly Nazis, we are British people who are standing up for our country, the entry said. Call us Nazis all you want, we dont care. We stop Islamic extremists, we get results. Any venue this group (tries) to book will get the same treatment.
The English Defence League describes itself as a human rights organization working to protect the inalienable rights of all people to protest against radical Islams encroachment into the lives of non-Muslims.
It says it is not a far-right group.
In a statement, the group accused the Muslim Research and Development Foundation of being led by a notorious hate-preacher who has made it quite clear that he is opposed to almost every standard of democracy, decency, morality and inclusiveness that we British see as the cornerstone of our culture and said it was pleased the event had been canceled.
The foundations chairman, Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad, has denied he is extremist.
The English Defence League added it wholeheartedly condemned any threats of violence. In a country with a long and honorable tradition of peaceful protest there is absolutely no excuse for this and the EDL affirms its commitment to nonviolent action.
In a statement, the Thames Valley Police said it initiated an investigation after being notified about the online threats February 11 but had made no arrests. As there is an ongoing police investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further, police said.
In November, another event by the Muslim group — held at the Chessington World of Adventures, Legolands sister park about 45 minutes away — went off without threats or complaints, park spokeswoman Edwards told CNN. We have no idea why this has been different.
Sundays cancellation is the first by the park since it opened in 1996, she said.
CNNs Lucy Pawle contributed to this report.

Destined slaves wildlife

Editors note: CNNs On the Road series brings you a greater insight into the history, customs and culture of Ghana. CNN explores the places, the people and the passions unique to this African nation.
(CNN) — Accra, March 6 1957. Tens of thousands of rejoicing people flood the streets of the city center. Shouts of freedom, freedom fill the air as men, women and children sing and dance, celebrating the birth of a new state and the beginning of a new era: an independent Ghana.
At midnight on that historic day, Britains Union Jack was taken down above Parliament House in the capital, replaced by Ghanas new flag — a black star at the heart of a red, gold and green tricolor.
At that moment, to the cheering of an ecstatic crowd, Ghana became the first African country south of the Sahara to break the chains of colonialism. The event triggered a liberation movement that was destined to sweep the entire continent and eventually lead to the demise of colonial rule in Africa.
In the years since independence Ghana has navigated tumultuous periods of army rule and political uncertainty.
However the West African country is hailed as one of the continents success stories — the international community has often lauded Ghana as a beacon of peace and stability while U.S. president Barack Obama called it a model for democracy in Africa.
Rich history

Ghana fast facts



Population: 25,199,609



Capital: Accra



Internet users: 14% of population



GDP per capita: $1,550



Total GDP 2012: $40.71 billion



Life expectancy: 65



Literacy rate: 71.5%

Located on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana is a country of more than 25 million people, known for its rich history, cultural heritage and natural beauty.
The country is often described as Africa for beginners, combining long stretches of sandy beaches, lush tropical forests and diverse wildlife.
The country takes its name from a great ancient kingdom, situated some 500 miles northwest of the modern-day state, which flourished until the 13th century.
Ghana was formerly known as the Gold Coast because of the abundance of the precious metal found there. The first contact with Europeans began in the late 15th century with the arrival of Portuguese sailors and the establishment of direct commercial sea routes with Europe — mainly as a supplier of gold.
Over the following centuries, traders from Britain, the Netherlands and other Europeans countries also joined in, as the focus shifted to the lucrative export of slaves amid a growing demand for labor in the American and Caribbean plantations.
During that period, several stone forts and castles were erected along the coast, many of which dot Ghanas shores to this day. Slave forts like Elmina and Cape Coast have become significant historical monuments that attract many visitors, especially people of African descent from the United States

The Duchess of Kent reads a speech from the British Queen in the National Assembly, Ghana, granting Independence to the Gold Coast. Getty Images/AFP

By the latter decades of the 19th century, the British and the Dutch were the only European traders still operating on the coast, while the union of the Ashanti states, centered in the city of Kumasi, became increasingly dominant.
In 1874, two years after the final withdrawal of the Dutch and following several hard-fought battles with the Ashanti, the Gold Coast was declared a British colony.
Rocky road
After gaining its independence from the UK, Ghana was proclaimed a republic in 1960. One of the first civil engineering projects of the new nation was the Akosombo Dam completed in 1965. It created Lake Volta, one of the worlds largest man-made lakes and brought electricity to millions.
To this day hydroelectricity accounts for around 85% of the countrys electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
However in the years that followed independence, the newborn state was hit by severe economic and political troubles.
Independence leader Kwame Nkrumah became known as the founding father of Pan-Africanism — an ideology of African solidarity that spread across the continent and the wider world. He led the country as president until he was toppled by a military coup in 1966 amid growing dissatisfaction over corruption, declining living standards and spiraling foreign debts.
Although a general election was successfully held in 1969, Ghana was soon to enter a new period of political uncertainty and economic stagnation that lasted for more than a decade. A series of coups and countercoups began in 1972 and continued until the early 1980s when a former air force second lieutenant called Jerry Rawlings solidified power.

Sunset at a beach in the capital, Accra. Getty Images/AFP

Gradually, economic and political conditions in the country improved and Rawlings went on to win two presidential elections in 1992 and 1996. He was replaced by John Kufuor in 2001, in what was the first peaceful transfer of power between democratically elected governments since 1957.
John Atta Mills won the 2008 elections and remained president until his death in June 2012. He was immediately replaced by John Dramani Mahama, formerly Ghanas vice president, who was sworn in as the countrys new president — a position he holds to this day after winning the elections on December 7, 2012.
Gold, cocoa and oil
Despite its relatively small size, Ghana is today one of Africas leading countries and one of the few in the continent expected to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving the poverty rate by 2015.
It has one of the fastest growing economies in the continent, driven largely by its rich natural resources and strong agricultural production.
Gold and cocoa are both traditionally major sources of foreign currency for the country, while in 2007 economic expectations were raised higher following the discovery of major offshore oil reserves.

CNNs On the Road series often carries sponsorship originating from the countries we profile. However CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reports. Read the policy

Swimming projects lack the

London (CNN) — When you cant build up theres only one solution — build down.
At least thats the theory in some of Londons wealthiest neighborhoods.
The UK capital is in the midst of a luxury basement boom, with well-heeled residents and developers excavating large areas underneath their homes and gardens.
Some have used the extra space gained to install the likes of cinemas, gyms, wine cellars, golf simulators, bowling alleys and even swimming pools.
In the stylish borough of Chelsea and Kensington alone, there were 450 basement applications in 2013, according to figures provided to CNN by the local council. Thats a 46% increase on 2012 and more than 500% increase on 2003 figures.
Reports indicate a similar story in nearby Westminster as well as Hammersmith and Fulham.
People have been piling into the basement sector in recent years, explained Stephen Merritt, managing director of specialist dig-down firm, London Basement. Were probably doing around 30 to 40 projects a year now. (Clients) are definitely pushing the envelope more and more … to create new basement space.
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A lack of room and strict planning laws dictate that the facade of many of Londons picturesque Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian-era neighborhoods must maintain their original character and outward appearance.
This annuls the possibility of large extensions upwards and outwards. The simplest alternative therefore is to go down, Merritt explained.
The price per square foot (of basement extension) in areas we work in is probably £400 to £500 per square foot (between $660 and $830 per sq ft). The extra space this brings is probably worth double that, he added.
As the UK property market heats up again, the extra value a kitted-out basement can provide is clearly an appealing option for investors and homeowners.
But while underground digs are an increasingly common sight, the general concept of extending down is not new to London. Merritt says his company alone has been excavating in plush areas like Kensington since the mid to late 90s.
The difference today, however, is that the projects are becoming increasingly luxurious and ambitious. They have also spread to more modest, although still attractive neighborhoods, such as West Kensington, Wandsworth, Clapham and Fulham.
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In some famous cases the operations extend as many as five stories underground.
Property mogul Leonard Blavatnik as well as composer Andrew Lloyd Webber have both reportedly excavated large areas beneath their palatial London properties in recent years.
Billionaire mobile phone mogul John Caudwell, meanwhile, has applied to dig beneath two mansions in the citys Mayfair district, replacing an existing basement pool and sauna area while extending further down.
These so called iceberg basements are the exception rather than the rule, however. Most extensions drop just one or two floors beneath the ground.
A mock-up of a London iceberg basement (Inez Torre/CNN)
I think for any property with a value over £2 million ($3.2 million) a basement extension is certainly a consideration for the owners, explained Rob Atkins of London estate agency, Domus Nova. If youve lived in a house for 15 and 20 years and you cannot get a move for the right value then it is an option that can suit that growing family.
You are now expected to pay 7% stamp duty (a tax on land and property transactions) on a move of over £2 million. All in, then, it might cost you 10% of your sell or your purchase to move house so people are looking inwardly instead of moving, he added.
These trends are similarly noted by developer Blaze Stojanovski. He believes the investment in a basement extension can be a smart one if made in the right location. Stojanovski currently owns 28 properties around west London and has added 11 basement extensions in recent years.
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On a price per square foot basements are hugely expensive, which is why 10 years ago people werent really building them, he said. As Fulham and other areas have come up price wise we have got to a stage where it is cost effective to dig basements.
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But while keen to stress his experience of the positives, Stojanovski is also quick to point out that adding a basement in just any old house wont work.
If you get the wrong property you could easily break even or lose money, he continued. You have to make sure that the property is on the right street and it can justify a big investment like a basement.
Neighbours and those nearby, however, arent always as keen.
Horror stories abound in Londons local papers of skips falling through streets as the earth beneath is hollowed out while complaints about the inconvenience of noise and dust from dig sites is common.
Our members have become increasingly worried by the nastiness of having great big holes dug next door to them, said Terence Bendixson, honorary secretary of planning at the Chelsea Society.
Randa Hanna of the Belgravia Residents Association meanwhile described a multitude of problems for residents in her area. There were cases of serial fraud (with builders). There have also been instances of flooding and problems for neighbors living next door to the work, she added.
A basement dig in Kensington, London
For the likes of Stojanovski and Merritt, these negative experiences are a genuine concern. Merritt believes there are few bad apples in the industry guilty of cutting corners but points to his own companys award-winning reputation as a considerate constructor.
As it stands, however, these complaints have done little to halt the attraction or number of applications for luxury basement digs.
There have been rumors regarding a changing of the rules to limit underground extensions but these have yet to to be implemented in any London borough.
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Given the international diversity of Londons wealthiest residents and property investors, Stojanovski can even see the trend for subterranean extensions spreading to cities in other countries where space is tight and demand high.
Many of his current tenants are from outside the UK, while the majority of his recent sales have been to wealthy foreign investors.
These people will be living and getting used to living in houses with basements, he said. They will consider that and probably talk about that when they go back home.
Therefore I wouldnt be surprised if you see that kind of basement living incorporated in houses for example in Paris, Rome, Vienna or Moscow in the future, he added.

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