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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Trump Hillary Clinton debat ~ the Taj Mahal - atlantic closes down

The Taj Mahal on the south bank of the Yamuna river in Agra attracts many tourists.   It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan housing  the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.  Airborne particulate matter (PM) in cities poses a range of problems including degradation in air quality leading to health concerns and also the discolouration of ancient buildings. In Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, authorities have taken a number of measures to curb the impact of local air pollution on the world heritage site.

Over the years, the pristine white marble of the Taj Mahal, located on the banks of River Yamuna in Agra, has been turning yellow. To combat this, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), a government agency tasked with research and the conservation of monuments, has been applying Multani Mitti (Fuller’s earth) on portions of the Taj, including its celebrated minarets, since 1994. Beginning in April 2017, the ASI plans to extend this treatment to the main dome—a process that is expected to take over a year.  So, tourists visiting the 17th –century structure next year will be greeted by the decidedly non-photogenic scaffolding around the dome !

Elections in Uttar Pradesh are round the corner. In UP, there are 403 assembly constituencies and 80 Lok Sabha constituencies. Three people, including two elderly women, died and several people got injured on Sunday (9.10.2016), during a stampede at Bahujan Samaj Party’s supremo Mayawati’s rally in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The incident took place when a large group tried to force its entry from gate No. 1 at the Kanshiram Smarak Sthal, the rally venue. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of those killed in the stampede, and instructed the hospitals to give proper treatment to the injured. BSP has also announced Rs 5 lakh each for kin of the deceased. Asked about the incident, BSP chief Mayawati blamed the UP police which failed to make proper arrangements for the rally.

Miles away, the debate night that will be discussed for generations in Political Science classes – and Women's Studies seminars – ended with Republican Donald Trump landing more punches than Democrat Hillary Clinton, and successfully deflecting attention successfully away from a two-day-old crisis about graphic sexual language that threatened to derail his White House bid.

In the first debate at Hofstra University 13 days earlier, Clinton sat back and let Trump hang himself. But on Sunday her quiet patience gave him room to roam and dominate. Neither candidate appeared in the hall where reporters waited to grill them. Clinton established herself as a superior bureaucrat Sunday night with more mature knowledge of foreign policy minutiae and a more intelligible way of communicating details about how laws are made.   Donald Trump took the gloves off 90 minutes before Sunday night's debate against Hillary Clinton, holding a meeting with four ghosts from Bill Clinton's sexual past – and letting a handful of unsympathetic reporters in to hear them speak. Trump introduced his coalition of the willing – Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathy Shelton and Paula Jones – in St. Louis as a press pool snapped shutters and reporters shouted questions about a new audio recording of Trump saying vulgar things about women 11 years ago. One of them said -  'Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me. And Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don't think there's any comparison.'

This is nothing on the sex row but on Taj  - Donald Trump opened his Trump Taj Mahal casino 26 years ago, calling it 'the eighth wonder of the world'. But his friend and fellow billionaire Carl Icahn closed it Monday morning, making it the fifth casualty of Atlantic City's casino crisis. The sprawling Boardwalk casino, with its soaring domes, minarets and towers built to mimic the famed Indian palace, shut down at 5.59am, having failed to reach a deal with its union workers to restore health care and pension benefits that were taken away from them in bankruptcy court. Nearly 3,000 workers lost their jobs, bringing the total jobs lost by Atlantic City casino closings to 11,000 since 2014.

The union went on strike July 1, and Icahn decided to shut the place down a little over a month later, determining there was 'no path to profitability'. The Taj Mahal becomes the fifth Atlantic City casino to go out of business since 2014, when four others, including Trump Plaza, shut its doors. But this shutdown is different: it involves a casino built by the Republican candidate for president, who took time out from the campaign trail to lament its demise.

The Taj Mahal joins the Atlantic Club, Showboat, Trump Plaza and Revel in the growing club of Atlantic City casinos that, since 2014, have succumbed to economic pressure brought about in large measure by competition from casinos in neighboring states.  The city now will have seven casinos.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

10th Oct 2016.

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