Mumbai terrorists planned to blow up Taj Mahal Palace hotel – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

01 December 2008 by
Mumbai terrorists planned to blow up Taj Mahal Palace hotel – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Mumbai terrorists planned to blow up Taj Mahal Palace hotel
The terrorists who killed hundreds of people in attacks at 10 sites across Mumbai intended to kill 5,000 peoplefinally liberated on Saturday morning after a 62-hour siege. Meanwhile, UK intelligence is investigating claims that up to four of the gunmen might have links with Dewsbury and Bradford in Britain. - 29 and 30 November

Café Leopold reopens in defiance of Mumbai terrorists
Cafe Leopold, the Bombay landmark that was one of 10 sites in Mumbai attacked by Pakistani terrorists, reopened this morning in a gesture of defiance. "I wanted to show those terrorists that we have won and they have not," said Farzadi Jehani, the co-owner of the business which was founded in 1871 and has been in his family for 75 years. The café that is popular with both locals and backpackers was made famous in the West by Shantaram, the 2003 novel by Gregory David Roberts. It closed for three days after two terrorists armed with rifles and grenades opened fire at the 100 diners in the café on Wednesday and lobbed in a grenade. It opened soon after the authorities regained control of the nearby Taj Palace hotel yesterday morning. - 30 November, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >> Pubs need help to stem closure rate, says licensing minister
Concern is growing among ministers about the accelerating rate of pub closures that has left 60% of villages without a pub, according to a recent cross-party report. Licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe has warned that a closure rate of 37 pubs a week (33% higher than a year ago) would worsen unless the Government took action to support the beleaguered industry. He has called for the licensing system to be changed to make it easier and cheaper for pubs to extend their range of services and is one of several ministers urging the Government to ban cheap supermarket sales of alcohol. More than 60 MPs have signed a motion calling for the planned 8% hike in alcohol to be postponed or dropped. - 30 November, Read the full article in The Observer >> Credit crunch capsizes £232m Millennium hotel deal
The credit crunch has scuppered the planned £232.6m sale of the Millennium Seoul Hilton in South Korea after prospective buyer Kangho failed to secure the funds. In a statement the hotel's owner, Millennium & Copthorne hotels, said that while it was "ready, willing and able Kangho has, in the current difficult financial markets, been unable to finalise its financing arrangements." - 29 November, Read the full article in the Independent >>

PizzaExpress owner posts 7% sales and earnings rise
PizzaExpress and Ask owner Gondola has bucked the economic gloom with a 7% rise in turnover and earnings for the year to June. The group, which is owned by Cinven, reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £103m on sales of £453.1m. Gondola operates around 350 PizzaExpress restaurants and more than 200 Ask and Zizzi pizza/pasta restaurants. - 30 November, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >> Café culture declines across France
Café culture is in steep decline across France as changing attitudes have combined with the economic downturn to hit traditional cafés and bars. There are now fewer than 41,500 cafés left in France compared to 200,000 in 1960, bankruptcies have soared by 56% in the first half of 2008, and an average of two cafés are closing each day. On top of customers spending and drinking less, cafés also suffered from the introduction of the smoking ban in January which one Paris bartender said cut his coffee and bar business by 20%. - 30 November, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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