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Free Carla Bruni CDs anger French taxpayers

A French government initiative to give away thousands of Carla Bruni CDs for free to promote exports has sparked an outrage in France amid plummeting popularity of President Nicolas Sarkozy, whom she married after a lightning romance last year.

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The album will be dispatched to admirers of the former Italian supermodel-turned pop singer with wine and cheese vouchers.

French taxpayers are outraged that up to 1 million pounds of their money has been transferred to marketing agency Sopexa to plug the Italian-born singer’s songs.

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Many believe France has still not digested the initial “bling bling” phase, symbolised by Sarkozy’s whirlwind romance with the Italian heiress.
At least 14,000 people in 19 countries have applied to receive one of the gift packs through the Ministry of Agriculture initiative.

Those set to get the free Bruni CDs have been asked to organise “Gallic evening” to showcase France’s best exports and then put their promotion on internet sites.

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The former supermodel’s third album was released soon after her marriage to Sarkozy last year but sold less than 90,000 copies in France.

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Bruni shrugged off the vitriolic reviews of her last album, saying: “It’s understandable that people can’t help mixing up my work as an artist and my official role.

As Sarkozy completes two-year in office, sixty-three per cent have written off his first 24 months as a failure, according to a poll today for Metro newspaper, with only 28 per cent holding a positive opinion.

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Nothing represents the best of the VIP world better than celebrity gamblers. They are rich, successful, and glamorous. These luminaries make the best out of the luxurious and pampering lifestyle that is offered to them by casinos, tournaments and basically anywhere they go, simply for their star appeal!

George Clooney

George Clooney, former star of E.R. and numerous hit films such as Solaris, Intolerable Cruelty and Syriana, did not only star in gambling related movies such as Ocean’s 11 and Ocean’s 12, but has also taken an active role in the gambling business when he invested an unknown sum of money in a $3 billion resort in a Las Vegas. He is the co-owner of Las Ramblas, a casino-hotel-condominium complex.

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George Clooney has invested $3 billion in Vegas casino complex.

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“I wanted it to be like old Vegas and old Hollywood. It’s going to be a classy joint,” Said Clooney.

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck, star of hit movies such as Pearl Harbor, Armageddon and Daredevil is said to be the most serious gambler in Hollywood. In June 2004, the 31-year-old actor bested a field of 90 poker players in the Commerce Casino’s California State Poker Championship, including professional player Stan Goldstein, who finished 2nd and Chuck Pacheco, president and co-founder of Castle Rock Entertainment, who finished in 3rd place.

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Affleck won $356,400 in that event and a $25,000 seat in the 2005 World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship.

Jennifer Tillly

Jennifer Tilly, is a veteran and semi-professional poker player. The star of The Fabulous Baker Boys, Bullets Over Broadway and Bound, is a regular at tournaments.

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In 2005, Tilly won a World Series of Poker bracelet and $158,625 in the Ladies’ No-Limit Texas Holdem event while outlasting 600 other players. She is the first non-poker celebrity to win a World Series of Poker event. She followed up this achievement and won the third World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament held at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles in September 2005.

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After her victory she appeared on The Tonight Show on NBC to talk about her experience at the WSOP, and garnered a cover article in CardPlayer magazine the following month.

Tobey Maguire

Tobey Maguire, Spiderman himself, was one of the players that were defeated by Ben Affleck at the Commerce Casino’s California State Poker Championship but he soon made a strong comeback when in October 2004 he won $186,000 at a $2,000 buy-in tournament at the Hollywood Park Casino.

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Matt Damon

Matt Damon, the star of Dogma, Saving Private Ryan and The Talented Mr. Ripley, is also the star of one of the best poker movies ever made, Rounders. During the filming of Rounders, Damon and co-star Edward Norton were coached by poker legend Johnny Chan.

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A famous line that Damon had in the movie touches on the view that he admits he has on poker: “Why do you think the same six guys end up at the final table at the world series of poker every year? Are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? No, it’s because they’ve got skills.”

Hugh Hafner

American publisher and founder of Playboy magazine. Hugh Marston Hefner, icon and spokesman for the 1960s sexual revolution and libertarian ideals, was born in Chicago in 1926.  He opened his “Playboy Casino Clubs” which in less than two years had expanded to 12 nationally; and he held casino licenses in Atlantic City and Britain.

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Matthew Perry

Mathew Perry usually goes to Bellagio hotel casino in Las Vegas with his pals to play casino games.

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