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Pressure on Brunei to sell US hotel

The City of Beverly Hills has voted unanimously to pressure the government of Brunei to divest the Beverly Hills Hotel, the pink-hued haunt of the Hollywood set, after the small country's enactment of sharia law prompted protests.

Talk show hosts Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson have been the most prominent figures to advocate shunning the hotel and its bungalows, which have been a favoured locale for the Hollywood elite since opening a century ago.

The resolution urges Brunei to divest its ownership of the hotel, and any other properties it owns within Beverly Hills, and condemns it and other countries that operate under Islamic criminal law.

Emotions were high in the packed council chambers as scores of people expressed their views. Some spoke to oppose Brunei's human rights abuses while others expressed support for the fabled property, emphasising the jobs its supports.

"This is misguided," Robert Anderson said after the vote. "We should be against human rights ­violations in all countries, not just the Brunei."

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