US President Barack Obama wishes to stay in the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai that reopened in August after it was given a facelift to erase all the damage caused by the 26/11 attack. He will also address a meeting of business leaders in the hotel before flying off to South Korea to attend the G-20 nations summit. MEA officials say he has expressed a desire to visit the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus from where the terrorists began the assault.
Then and now
The recent political flux in Australia appears to have caught the HRD ministry by surprise. The first newsletter of the ministry’s department for higher education, launched by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on September 9, describes Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard as deputy PM and minister of education, employment and workplace relations. Gillard was indeed deputy PM and in charge of education when Sibal met her during a visit to Australia in April and the newsletter refers to her designation as deputy PM in the context of that meeting. But officials conceded that there had been an ‘oversight’ on their part and that they should have added a ‘then’ before her designation.
Beyond the boundary
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has found two ace Indian crickets — Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble — to fight for the cause of tigers in the state. They have sought an appointment with Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh to seek funds for the Bandipur tiger reserve in the state, where 50 per cent of the posts of forest guards are vacant due to paucity of funds. Kumble, in a letter to Ramesh, said that Bandipur require more funds from the central government for protecting its huge population of tigers. Dravid has been part of the national campaign to save tigers since 2008. Ramesh is likely to meet them soon.
Missing in action
The BJP office staff came in for a rude shock the other day. A computer had gone “missing” from the party’s office in Parliament. This has left a big question mark on the security apparatus in Parliament as BJP office-bearers are wondering how things were stolen from such a highly secured complex. The offices of political parties in Parliament are generally locked and unlocked by the security staff. A few BJP staff members were heard complaining that this wasn’t the first time, as earlier some stationary was found missing from the office. The Parliament security has already started an inquiry into the incident and even questioned some staff members.
Making a mockery of it
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad are known to take potshots at each other. But with the elections just announced, their exchanges are touching new heights. When Nitish said he won’t contest as he was an MLC, Lalu hit back saying, “Kumar has lost confidence...he is proving to be a ranchhor (battle-deserter) commander with the NDA defeat becoming certain.” Kumar reacted by saying, “If this is so, why is Prasad is waiting till elections?... He should rush to Raj Bhavan to take oath as chief minister.” Kumar also hastened to recall that Prasad had become “mock PM” in Lok Sabha “and there is no harm if he becomes mock CM here”.