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Daily Archives: December 14, 2007

MGM Grand Macau opens doors to media

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by Natalie Leung

Managing director of MGM Grand Macau, Pansy Ho, said during the pre-opening press conference yesterday that the new hotel resort would create a healthy competition among the neighbouring entertainment venues.


Media from Macau, Hong Kong, China and other overseas countries were invited for an exclusive preview of the 35-storey hotel tower which is due to open on December 18 in Nape.

Yesterday's events began with a press conference chaired by Pansy Ho, as well as president Bob Moon and director Daisy Ho.

Speaking to the media about how MGM Grand Macau would position itself to stay competitive in a small area where two more hotels were situated, Pansy Ho said the hotel resort would work at contributing the best benefits for each of the hotels and casinos nearby, adding that MGM Grand Macau aims at high-end customers and offer high-rolling gaming experiences.

In addition, the managing director said MGM Grand Macau was experiencing a satisfactory supply of human resources and she believed that the government would carry out an evaluation on local labour shortages at the right time.

MGM Grand Macau is a joint partnership development between Pansy Ho and MGM Mirage.

Being the Chief Executive Officer and chairman of Shun Tak China Travel Ship Management Limited at the same time, Pansy Ho asserted at the pre-opening press conference that MGM Grand Macau is not related to any business of Shun Tak and therefore could not comment on the recent operation suspension of a maritime service company, a question posed by media.

However, she added that it was important for MGM Grand Macau to understand if the law allows casino operators to participate in other businesses including public services.

The hotel resort, standing 154 metres high and featuring 600 hotel rooms including villas and suites, has a mission to develop and deliver an enticing blend of entertainment in Macau, Mr Moon told the media at the Grand Ballroom yesterday.

"MGM Grand Macau is not going to be 'just another beautiful property', it will be a destination of fun and excitement, a place where life and art are celebrated," he said.

Grande Praca is a 1,088 square-metre European-styled architecture built in the heart of the hotel resort which is covered by a glass ceiling stood 25 metres above ground.

Inspired by the design of the Central train station in Lisbon, Pansy Ho said the venue would be able to stage fashion shows and exhibitions.

The second Dale Chihuly retail concept store selling hand-blown glass crafts and the third Hermes.Saint Louis.Puiforcat integrated store selling crystal and silverware, are housed in MGM Grand Macau.

The works of surreal artist, Salvador Dali, including 'Piano Surrealist', 'Dalinian Dancer' and 'Woman of Time', can also be seen at the hotel resort.

Yves Pepin, one of the directors of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, is invited to direct the grand opening ceremony on December 18.

As well, Mr Pepin has created a countdown technical feat which can be seen on the seaside facade from Taipa.

It is made of 600 pixels and incorporates three kilometres special reflective film and 2,800 synchronised lights.


EU leaders sign landmark reform treaty

by Edouard Pons*


Leaders of the 27-nation European Union signed a landmark treaty yesterday to revitalise the bloc's decision-making, hailing it as a way to strengthen European unity while maintaining national identities.

"History will remember this day as a day when new paths of hope were opened to the European ideal," Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said ahead of the signing ceremony with EU leaders and foreign ministers.

He insisted that the treaty — which replaces a draft EU constitution scuppered by French and Dutch referendums in 2005 — is not a threat to the national sovereignty of member states.

"The European project does not eliminate nor minimise national identities," he said. "It offers a multilateral framework of regulation from which benefits can be drawn for the whole and for each of the parts that participate in the project."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was a notable absentee from the ceremony at Lisbon's Jeronimos Monastery, and Foreign Secretary David Miliband signed on his behalf.

Brown was appearing before a parliamentary committee in London and was to join his fellow EU leaders to sign the 250-page text later in the day.

The treaty must yet be ratified in each EU member state before it can come into effect, as planned, in 2009.

Only Ireland is constitutionally bound to hold the kind of national referendum which doomed the constitution in 2005 and sparked the EU's worst ever political crisis.

EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said the Treaty of Lisbon "will reinforce the Union's capacity to act and the ability to achieve those goals in an effective way. As such, it will help the Union to deliver better results to European citizens."

"It makes Europe, united in its diversity, better equipped to promote its interests and values in the world," he added.

The text was agreed in October after long and often heated negotiations between supporters and opponents of closer EU integration.

EU leaders, who move on to a summit in Brussels on Friday, deem it vital to streamline the functioning of the bloc, which has grown from 15 to 27 nations since 2004 while pushing deep into the former Soviet bloc.

Like the rejected constitution, it proposes a European foreign policy supremo and a permanent president to replace the cumbersome six-month rotating presidency system.

It cuts the size of the European Parliament and the number of EU decisions which require unanimous support, hence reducing national vetoes.

However it drops all references to an EU flag or anthem, to assuage eurosceptic fears of another step towards a federal Europe.

It also includes a European charter of fundamental human and legal rights, which Britain and Poland have refused to make binding.

Many governments, including France and the Netherlands, have said they will not hold national referendums to ratify the treaty.

However opponents who want a national vote have seized on the words of Valery Giscard d'Estaing, France's former president and architecht of the abandoned European constitution.

He has said that legal experts had "taken the original draft constitution, blown it apart into separate elements, and have then attached them, one by one, to existing treaties."

Brown's failure to attend the public celebration of European unity led to accusations in Britain of a luke-warm attitude to Europe.

But he rejected the charges. "I think you'll find on the debate about global Europe, we are leading the way," he said in The Times newspaper.

In order to avoid a referendum, the British government was granted key opt-outs on foreign policy, labour rights, the common law and tax and social security systems.

At Friday's summit, the leaders will move on to discuss Iran, Kosovo and globalisation.