This was a week of surprises and frustrations.  Arsenal surprised everyone (not least their manager) by winning a football match, whilst Donald Trump announced that he has changed tack completely on his North Korean strategy and is off to meet the man he recently described as "Little Rocket Man" and a "bad dude".  And just as life was returning to normal after the big freeze in the UK, residents in parts of London and the South East were left angry and frustrated after their water supply was cut off by burst pipes.  In some cases for up to four days.  The Weekly thought it would be helpful to put these frustrations into context.  Spare a thought, for example, for a poor mother in Shanghai who gave her iPhone to her two-year-old son to play with.  She returned to find that he'd locked the device for 25,113,676 minutes by repeatedly tapping in the wrong passcode.  No phone for....let's see...47 years!  Now that is frustrating.

On Monday, Theresa May set out her vision for tackling the housing crisis in a speech designed to coincide with a review of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  The Prime Minister sought to put pressure on developers as part of the Government's land-banking review and asked councils to "blacklist developers with a poor history of not building on sites where planning has been approved."  She was also highly critical of executive pay packages, in the wake of Persimmon CEO Jeff Fairburn's giant pay-out, and the way house-builder chief executive bonuses are calculated.  House-builders make easy villains for politicians, but developers were quick to point out that criticising them for being slow to convert planning permissions into building sites grossly oversimplifies the process.  Whilst it makes strategic sense for many house-builders to have a pipeline of sites at various stages of the development process, simply satisfying pre-commencement conditions (especially in relation to brownfield sites) can take time.  A problem that is often exacerbated by council's who struggle to turn around applications quickly due to a lack of capacity!  Legitimate excuses, or not, both councils and developers have been put on notice that they need to collectively deliver.

Forbes released its annual "Billionaires list" this week, giving us an insight into an elite group of 2,208 billionaires from around the world who are collectively worth an eye-watering $9.1 trillion.  Top of the list is Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, whose fortune leapt by more than $39bn this year alone!  Bezos is now worth $104.4bn (£77.1bn) making him the only person to appear in the Forbes rankings with a 12-figure fortune.  Not bad for a man who started Amazon out of his garage in Seattle in the mid-1990s!  His net worth has skyrocketed over the past year, in line with an explosion in the value of Amazon, of which he is a major shareholder.  Bezos, however, doesn't appear to be the sort of man to flaunt his success.  One year after Amazon's IPO, Bezos still lived in a rented apartment and used a desk he made from an old door.  The Weekly suspects that there was no such scrimping at Trump Tower.  However, whilst Bezos is on the up, the US President was down 222 places on the list after his estimated worth fell from $3.5bn to $3.1bn.  Readers will no doubt be shedding a collective tear of sympathy into their morning coffee!

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