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Tragus accused of threatening staff over cash tips – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

29 June 2009 by
Tragus accused of threatening staff over cash tips – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Tragus accused of threatening staff over cash tips
Waiters at Tragus's Café Rouge and Bella Pasta restaurants say they are still being threatened with dismissal if they ask for tips in cash. Last month, the Observerreported a company memo urging a crackdown on cash tipsRead the full article in the Observer >>
Gunman shoots two people in Harry Morgans restaurant Diners at Harry Morgans restaurant in St Johns Wood High Street, London, were forced to dive under their tables for cover when a gunman opened fire, injuring a 31-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy on Friday night. Witnesses - including pop star Rachel Stevens and BBC reporter Hugh Pym - said the attacker, wearing a motorcycle helmet and wielding two automatic pistols, chased the 31-year-old man into the restaurant and started shooting. The gunman then fled in a black Mercedes driven by another man. Pym said the restaurant had been packed with customers, including parents, children and pensioners and noted bullet holes in the window of the restaurant, which was established in 1948 by a butcher. The victims were taken to hospital for treatment. The Metropolitan police said no arrests had yet been made. - 27 and 28 June, Read the full articles on BBC Online and in the Mail on Sunday >>

Marston's investors rebel against "spurious" £176m rights issue Institutional shareholders are rebelling against the £176m rights issue launched by Midlands-based pub group Marston's to build more pubs and improve its food offer. The investors have dubbed the deeply-discounted issue (which will effectively double the group's equity) as "totally ridiculous", "spurious" and an "opportunistic punt". They argue that even after they suffer "massive dilution" the company will remain highly geared, and they are disappointed that Marston's is not using the cash to tackle its £1.2b debt. Marston's insists that the issue would increase profits by around 10% in the medium term. The group's share price (which has fallen by a third in value since early May) has lost more than 3% since the rights issue was announced. - 28 June, Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>

Eel, pie and mash shops under threat as eel populations plummet
The traditional British eel, pie and mash shop is under threat due to a crash in European populations of the fish, which have plummeted by 95% since 1980. Their decline is due to overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, dams and climate change. "Eels are no longer the familiar sight in European and Caribbean waters that they once were," said Willem Wijnstekers, Secretary-General of the 174-member Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites). Since March, Cites has started restricting the sale of eels, which require a Cites permit for export. The jellied eel, pie and mash shop took off in the Victorian era using fish from the Thames' mud flats. Most eels now sold by London restaurants come from Ireland. Jeff Goddard, whose family opened their eel, pie and mash shop in Deptford, south London in 1890, said: "Eels have been part of Britain's history for two or three hundred years and it would be sad if they were to die out and no-one gets to try a real British experience." - 27 June, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>
Mardan Palace hotel owner attracts fury of Russian Prime Minister
Russian oligarch Telman Ismailov, who opened the opulent £1b Mardan Palace hotel in Turkey less than a month ago, has fallen foul of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and been accused of corruption by Russian state TV. Putin is claimed to be furious that Ismailov has invested so much abroad so ostentatiously while Russia has been hard hit by the recession. For the launch party, Ismailov jetted in 242 lb of Beluga caviar, paid international celebrities to attend (including singers Mariah Carey, Seal and Tom Jones for a rumoured £600,000 fee each) and sprayed dancing guests with $100 bills at a reported cost of $61m (£37m). Meanwhile, Russian state TV has accused Ismailov (who is worth an estimated £400m) of laundering billions of dollars at the complex after officials netted £1.2b in alleged contraband goods in Moscow's Cherkizovsky wholesale market, which is owned by one of Ismailov's companies. Ismailov has denied any links with the contraband goods and insists that he only rents out the trading space. - 28 June, Read the full article in The Sunday Times >>

By Angela Frewin

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