Anna Hazare also criticised the UPA government for burdening the common man with price hikes while they were celebrating their third anniversary of being in power
Nashik: Even as corruption and inflation have made life difficult for common man, the government's decision to hike petrol prices has only added fuel to fire, anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare said, reports PTI.
"My activists will support the 'Bharat Bandh' called by the BJP and Left parties on 31st May to protest petrol price hike," Hazare said while addressing a public meeting here last night.
He criticised the UPA government for burdening the common man with price hikes while they were celebrating their third anniversary of being in power.
"If the government does not pass the Jan Lokpal Bill, I will begin my fast unto death at New Delhi," he said.
When reporters quizzed him about his health and would be take up fasting during ill-health also, Hazare said, "I am totally fit."
The social worker urged the youth to participate in his fight against corruption.
The youngsters brought about revolutionary changes in Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan. The youth are coming together in the country to fight for a corruption-free India. The country is going ahead towards a new revolution by following the path of non-violence.
Hazare has been on a month-long tour of the state on the Lokayukta Bill issue from 1st May.
On Wednesday, the anti-corruption crusader underwent several medical tests at local hospitals here, after he complained of fatigue and weakness.
Morgan Stanley is reviewing orders its retail clients placed for Facebook stock, and may make price adjustments if the clients paid too much
New York: Morgan Stanley, the lead investment bank in Facebook's troubled initial public offering (IPO), will compensate retail investors who overpaid when they bought Facebook's stock in today's IPO, according to a source familiar with the matter.
According to a AP/PTI report, the person said the firm is reviewing orders its retail clients placed for Facebook stock, and will make price adjustments if the clients paid too much. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
The person did not say what amount constituted overpaying for Facebook's stock.
The social network's IPO was highly anticipated. But technical problems on the Nasdaq Stock Market delayed the stock's open on Friday. The stock closed nearly flat on its first trading day at $38.23.
Morgan Stanley and Facebook face at least two lawsuits over the IPO. Both suits allege that analysts at the large underwriting investment banks cut their second-quarter and full-year forecasts for Facebook just before the IPO and told only a handful of clients. Morgan Stanley has declined to comment on the lawsuits. Facebook has called the lawsuits "without merit."
Yesterday, Facebook's stock closed up $1.03, or 3.2%, at $33.03. This gives the company a market value of $90.4 billion, down from $105 billion at the end of trading today.
The writer narrates some anecdotes during his stint at the Sheraton Suites. The 38th part of a series describing the unknown triumphs and travails of doing international business
In the hospitality industry, competition was severe and all the managers running these units must have regularly had nightmares on the occupancy factor and revenue. I had just joined the Suites in the early 2001, after my almost three-year educative experience at the Courtyard. The computer systems in both hotels were different, and learning Geac was no easy matter.
Very similar to the DGS&D rates for products in India, the government here had also fixed the maximum per day allowance for the government officials moving about and visiting out on “stations of duty”. If the booking was made “at government rates”, it was mandatory for the front office staff to ensure that all steps were taken to identify the person and then check them in.
We do not know how it happened, but, apparently, a lot of government contractors and their representatives were making the booking, on the phone, for their rooms “at government rates”. While the front desk associate may have checked the ID of the person, it was not a practice to see other forms of government ID. We began to enforce this rule, and many of our regular clients resented this in the beginning. It took sometime before they were able to accept our regular rates, as no longer the benefit of government rate would apply for their stay.
During the summer months, most schools conducted “summer camps”; this meant a large number of students, both boys and girls from the same school, would be on sight-seeing trips, which necessarily included a visit to the capital, Washington DC. Relatively speaking, hotels in the capital were more expensive and parking space for large luxury buses was also a constraint. With the result, across the Potomac river, it was Virginia, which hosted these large groups, and our hotel was one of the few that catered to this need for many years.
In most cases, the trips were well organized and chaperoned by qualified staff. We had to block one floor each for boys and girls separately; in addition to the school’s own security systems, there were also floor guards so that we do not have any untoward incidents, as the students were young boys and girls. By and large, they were disciplined; they would march in punctually for breakfast, after which, they would move to the buses outside, and were gone for the whole day. They were back in time for supper, have it quietly, stop over the shopee for buying up their midnight snacks, cameras, films, etc, and move over to their rooms. If a late swim was arranged, the life guard would be on duty, after which, they would all march to their respective floors. After the given curfew time, they were locked in, and not allowed to leave their rooms.
We had excellent dealings with both the students and their group leaders. Our sales in the shopee would pick up tremendously during their visits, and we did not, fortunately, encounter any problem whatsoever.
We had a large ballroom, which could be divided into small sections, depending upon the number of seats (occupancy) required. A smaller conference room, with access to the main dining hall was also available. The catering service was handled by Hassan who had several years experience in the field, and had made bookings for almost the whole year. And the wedding dinners took place on Saturdays, when generally most hotels were not fully occupied!
Like all other hotels, we kept in close touch with the police force, for which we had an emergency switch to press in the front desk; and in less than three minutes we had the police vehicles at our door step. In fact, very often, due to children playing with the phones in their rooms, we have had urgent “security check calls” from the police, when the operator would ask “what kind of assistance do you need, as we have a 911 call from the hotel?” “Is everything ok?” The efficiency of the police force cannot be described. They were excellent.
All the rooms in the hotel had automatic water sprayers, in case of fire. These were small knobs on the walls; also, in case of emergencies, automatic sirens would blaze through all the floors, and the staff was trained to handle different and difficult situations before para-medics can come to the rescue.
On one such occasion, I was not on duty, and we had a wedding reception planned in our hotel. The bridal and hospitality suites were allotted for the family, and one of the guests, apparently by mistake, had simply hung up a dress on the nozzle of the water sprayer, and gone out to get something! Oh, what a mess this created! Because of the weight of the clothes, I suppose, the nozzle was pulled down, triggering the alert signal to the fire station and water spraying started in the entire floor. I believe it took some three hours before this could be set back to normalcy! Needless to say, it did spoil the person's clothes, unfortunately, but, at the end of the day, everybody had a great laugh!
The restaurant catered to the needs of the guests and offered both continental and American full breakfast. They would also set tables separately for the groups, in line with their own approved menus.
Likewise, the bar opened only in the afternoon, and picked up business late in the evenings. They had to strictly follow the rules and law relating to serving of alcohol to adults only; in case of even the slightest doubt, it was mandatory for the person serving to ask for the age proof. Only the senior-most of the bartenders took over this responsibility with great care and diligence. We had surprise checks from police force, who came incognito, and any mistake was immediate suspension of the person and HR department would take care of the removal procedures for such violations.
Almost all the hotels were keen to introduce and apply Six Sigma programs in their day-to-day activities. There were two that drew our management’s attention. One was the handling of transportation work, which was given a contractor, for managing this responsibility. It was our own vehicles; we were maintaining them and incurring all the expenses; the drivers were getting free lunches and dinners, while the only job outsourced to this contractor was to execute rosters and in ensuring vehicle runs efficiently. Like many of my own colleagues, I raised this issue with the management, as to why we needed to outsource this and why it could not be done by us? A few months after this was raised, the front office took over the transportation, reduced our expenses and became more flexible to meet guest requirements, to their entire satisfaction.
The second related to the complimentary copies of USA Today. I was given this assignment. First was to establish a consumption (or requirement) pattern for the newspaper, Monday to Friday, based on bookings made and anticipated variation in additions and cancellations. I stopped the booking for the full house for all days of the week and brought it down to realistic levels; made changes, week after week; eliminated the student groups, as they did not want delivery of the newspaper. On several occasions, I came to the office by 4am to ensure that paper delivery was in order. Very rarely, we had a shortage, but this was more than offset by our offering the copy of Washington Post in lieu from the shopee.
In the month of August, we had the annual outing for the staff, when, for the first time, I had to opportunity to play baseball, though, unconsciously, I held the bat very much like a cricket bat, which was corrected by someone who had come from England!
I felt more and more I was feeling at home, and a sense of belonging was overwhelming.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts. From being the advisor to exporters, he took over the mantle of a trader, travelled far and wide, and switched over to setting up garment factories and then worked in the US. He can be contacted at [email protected].)