A hug from Fidel
Cuba’s President Raul Castro held talks in Venezuela, during his first overseas trip since taking over from his brother Fidel Castro earlier this year. The Cuban leader met his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, a key ally of the communist-run island state and a long-time admirer of Fidel Castro. After their meeting, the two leaders presided over the signing of a series of joint energy and commercial deals. Castro offered Chavez and the Venezuelan people “a hug” from Fidel. The visit comes only a few weeks ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, and Chavez said this trip carried “the same importance” as Fidel Castro’s first international visit — also to Venezuela — after claiming victory in 1959.
Bettie Page passes away
Bettie Page, one of the most famous U.S. pin-up models of the 1950s, died in Los Angeles, aged 85. Her poses, often in bikinis, made her a cult figure and she was one of the first models to appear in Playboy magazine. Bettie Page was credited with helping to pave the way for the sexual revolution of the 1960s. The model had a heart attack last week and never regained consciousness. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner called her a “very dear person”. “I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society,” he said.
Back to business
Efforts are underway to open sections of Taj Mahal Palace and Oberoi Trident — the two luxury hotels in Mumbai that were targeted during terrorist attacks last month. Both hotels have begun accepting bookings ahead of the reopening. The 235 rooms in the new wing of the Taj hotel with 565 rooms in total will reopen for now. The hotel has not announced when the heritage part which took the brunt of the attacks will open. It is still unclear how much of the hotel’s elaborate décor — alabaster ceilings, hand-woven silk carpets and a rare art collection — has survived the siege. Taj officials have not yet commented on the extent of the damage.
Miss Russia is Miss World
Russian contestant Kseniya Sukhinova won the Miss World 2008 competition at a ceremony in South Africa. An international jury decided the winner. It was the sixth time that South Africa has held the event, more than any other country except England. Sukhinova is from Siberia, studying for an engineering degree. India’s Parvathy Omanakuttan was first runner-up, and Tobago’s Gabrielle Walcott was second runner-up from among 109 contestants.
New PM for Thailand
Thailand’s opposition leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has been confirmed as the country’s new prime minister after winning a special vote in parliament. The speaker of the lower house, Chai Chidchob, said the Democrat Party leader had beaten ex-police chief Pracha Promnok by 235 votes to 198. Abhisit will become Thailand’s fifth leader in a little over two years. The previous prime minister, Somchai Wongsawat, was forced to resign after a court ruling earlier this month.
Compiled by SUBAJAYANTHI
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