28Conference+Meetings WorldFebruary 2011BREAKOUTMurder suspect's weddingbooked as 'convention'British citizen Shrien Dewani, setto standtrial for the murder of his wife, Anni, inCape Town, allegedly booked the weddingas a convention through his company PSPHealthcare.The claim was made in Cape Town's Mail& Guardiannewspaper, which said theRenaissance Hotel and Convention Centrein Mumbai gave a 'convention' discountbecause of business it received from PSP.If the estimated £200,000 wedding costswere accounted for as a 'convention'expense, British tax authorities might take adim view if PSP tried to claim the expense.Shrien Dewani's publicist Max Clifford toldCMW: "There was no pretence and no taxdeduction. The wedding was paid for by theDewani and Hindocha families personally.PSP Group has travel and eventmanagement capabilities. At the request ofboth families it assisted with the significantadministration, logistics and organisation ofthe series of events in Mumbai."PSP owns nine nursing homes in the UK. Dewani, from Bristol, has always deniedany part in his wife's death. Two alleged gunmen, Xolile Mngeni, 23,and Mzwamadoda Qwabe, 26, have beencharged with the murder and South AfricanDepartment of Justice spokesman, MthunziMhaga, said he was confident Dewaniwould be extradited "very soon".The Sheela stealerDelhi police recently arrested a 43-year-old man who had been trying to sell stolenlaptops near the city's Sheela Cinema. The police said Rajesh Sharma had beenstealing laptops from five-star hotels andconferences centres by posing as adelegate. Sharma is accused of selling onthe laptops in his local area, Burari. "Despite being a graduate, he was notkeen on taking a regular job, but wantedto lead a lavish lifestyle and turned tostealing laptops," a senior police officerwas quoted in the local press. Sharma had previously been caught onCCTV footage, and realised that securityat five-star hotels had been tightened, soit is thought he started targetingconference halls and temples. He evenmanaged to attend conference dinners. He also confessed to stealing shoesfrom outside places of worship, as well aspurses from Delhi's JNU conference hall.1,700 US pharma staff left 'upin the air' by conference callWhile conference calling is an integralpart of many businesses, GeorgeClooney's character (dispatched to firestaff) in film Up in the Air, likeredundant workers at Sanofi-Aventispharmaceuticals in the US, would notbe impressed by the technology's useto fire 1,700 of them.The Huffington Postreported on 17December 2010 that employees at thepharmaceuticals giant received one oftwo mass emails on 2 December askingthem to telephone a number at twoseparate times. Those who were instructed to call inat the earlier time kept their jobs, butthe 1,700 employees who wereinstructed to ring in later were told theiremployment had been terminated. Sanofi-Aventis is the world's fourth-biggest drugmaker and the company'smedia team defended the method ofmaking the redundancies thus: "Ratherthan cascade these announcementsand stretch the notifications over thecourse of days, we decided to addressthese colleagues at one time, to explainthe rationale for the reductions andexpress appreciation for thecontributions they've made to theorganisation. We acknowledged in thecall that delivering this news on ateleconference wasn't ideal, but giventhe scope and scale of the reductions,there was no other way to share thisnews quickly and consistently".Watch yourtweets, notthe clockLondontourismboard VisitLondon hasbreathed asigh of reliefwith its future secured thanks to a £14ma year arrangement that sees it join withtwo other agencies to create PromoteLondon under the Mayor's authority. Nodoubt some relieved tweeting on Twitteras a result.As the UK waves goodbye to theregional development agencies and muchof the funding they brought to ourindustry, perhaps some of theclockwatchers at other British state-funded agencies should be looking a littlebusier and watching what they tweet?Always scanning fellow industry Twitterfeeds, CMWpicked up the following postfrom UK national tourism boardVisitBritain as 5.30pm slowly approachedon 21 December 2010:'Not long to wait now....'Followed a few minutes later by:'Is the working day nearly over?'Convictourismincentiveanyone?The word 'Convictourism' caught the eyein a travel news story recently. It seems, oncloser inspection, that the 'con' does notstand for conventions, but for 'convict'.Travel agency austravel.com followed lastyear's addition of 11 Australian convictsites to UNESCO's World Heritage list, bypredicting a boost in 'Convictourism', aphenomenon where those interested in the11 key penal sites in Australia whereconvicts were shipped from the old world,can go visit. The sites are located inTasmania, Sydney, Fremantle and NorfolkIsland. Must be conference potential in theresomewhere, surely?