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13 Indians, Israelis with blind climbers, scale Mt. Kilimanjaro

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Mumbai, Sep 24:  In an unique adventure sports initiative, a group of blind and able-bodied climbers from India and Israel have scaled the world’s fourth highest and Africa’s tallest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, an organiser said here on Monday.

The climb between September 8-14 was billed as India’s first Inclusive Climb. It included two blind climbers from India and one from Israel, besides 10 others, said the founder of Summitting4Hope (S4H) and expedition leader Anusha Subramanian.

“The climb to the 5885-metre high Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world, is another victory of inclusion, which is close to the hearts of S4H and Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation (ABBF).

“It re-evaluated our rigid views about disability and shattered stereotypes that plague persons with disability,” Subramanian, a media professional told news-persons.

She said it is appalling that as a society, we define what ‘they can’ and ‘cannot do’, but combating severe fatigue and acute mountain sickness, all the participants successfully summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The inclusive climb included 14-year old Baepi Donio of Israel — the youngest climber, besides a German teacher, a mother-son duo, two independent filmmakers and six local and three Indian mountain guides in the expedition.

The Pune-based ABBF founder and one of the blind climbers, Divyanshu Ganatra, said that “exclusion is something that persons with disability routinely encounter and with disability, in India, comes ‘invisibility'”, but the real challenge is to understand despite the differences.

“Mountains and nature or outdoors don’t differentiate between anyone, so why is it that we discriminate among people? I believe that to change something, you have to change yourself,” said Subramanian.

Besides Ganatra and Subramanian, the 13-member group included filmmakers Sehran Mohsin and Omkar Potdar, mountain guide Karn Kowshik, IT consultant Prasad Gurav, German teacher Omana Kale, Israelis Uri Basha, Sophie Donio and her 14-year old son Baepi, adventure sports enthusiast Vaishak J.P., motivational speaker Nupur Pittie and consultant Adi Raheja.

The ABBF is said to be the only NGO in the country working with cross-disabilities by providing more opportunities to disabled persons with adaptive adventure and sports activities, marathons, tandem cycling, scuba-diving, paragliding and mountaineering.

S4H, co-founded by Subramanian and Guneet Puri in 2013 with the aim to rehabilitate the flood-ravaged people of Uttarakhand, has supported other causes like Kashmir floods, Nepal earthquake and since last year the disabled persons especially from the economically weaker income groups.

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Realm of Sultans- Oman

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Oman

The Sultanate of Oman, considered as a hidden jewel at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Oman offers an excellent combination of heritage and modern life. Omani’s are very hospitable people and during travelling through the country, locals may invite you to have coffee and dates at their houses, an offer that never to be refused. From mountains and deep gorges to water-filled wadis (valley of a stream) and endless beaches and some of the stunning desert landscapes, diverse beauty of Oman can be sight throughout the country.

Oman received independence from Britain in 1951, following independence the country brought them under the leadership of Sultan Said bin Taimur, however not until his son His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin said ascended to the throne in 1970 that Oman entered a modern renaissance evolving into the contemporary and forward facing country it is today. It is His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s foresight that has helped Oman to secure prosperity and ensure that the country remains one of the safest countries in the world.

Oman’s population is just around 4 million people, Oman is an Islamic country that with an acceptance of other religions and cultures, allows anyone to practice their faith freely without any prejudice. Oman has seen the rapid transformation to modern society since 1970 and has never lost sight of its roots. Traditional Omani culture is embedded in nearly every aspect of daily life, from clothing and food to arts and craft and the hospitality the Locals show the visitors. The unique Omani culture and heritage continue today in many of the same ways it has seen for hundreds of years.

Muscat means Anchorage – Stunning modern capital of Oman offering a combination of old and new. Mountains and deserts surround Muscat while sea and fishing today remains an important industry. Muscat is also a busy port city. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is an architectural masterpiece with 50 meters dome and beautiful Persian carpet, the mosque can accommodate 20,000 people. Muscat’s old Muttrah (administratively a district) quarter, this known for its labyrinthine souk and bustling fish market and famous Corniche waterfront promenade. One can also catch the glimpse of the Sultan’s residence, a colourful Al Alam Palace built in the contemporary Islamic style. Muscat offers several museums exhibiting Omani culture and crafts. The Royal Opera House presents international performances. Shatti and Ourum are popular beaches that offer great experiences to beach admirers. Lagoon and Reefs at Bandar Jissah and Bandar Khayran are located close to Muscat, which is popular for diving.

Muscat offers abundance choices for visitors from world-class shows to fine dining at one of the many restaurants scattered across the capital or shopping for traditional souvenirs at Muttrah Souq to museums and art galleries showcasing Omani traditions and art. Even when the summer temperatures are at its peak in the rest part of Oman, Dhofar and mountaintops of Al Hajar range serve cooler temperatures on their overture.

Jay Kantawala founder of WIYO Travel contemplates that, ”Oman is a relatively unexplored destination and has a lot to offer to the tourist, the country is well- connected from major cities in India with daily direct flights. One can explore Oman for a short break or even for a week to 10 days. Micro-trips can be held here by exuberant travellers”.

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Avoid travelling as Snow may block Himachal roads

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Shimla, Jan 2: Moderate to heavy snowfall may occur across Himachal Pradesh in the next one-two days, the Met Office said on Wednesday.

Residents and tourists have been advised not to venture in the high hills as snapping of road links are high.

The supply of essential commodities and transportation of people may get hampered in remote areas of the state, a government official told IANS.

Hills of Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Sirmaur, Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts are likely to experience moderate to heavy snowfall from January 4-6, an official of the meteorological office here told IANS.

He said the western disturbances — storm systems originating from Caspian Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region — are likely to remain active in the region till January 9.

Most of the prominent tourist towns like Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Dalhousie and Manali are likely to have light to moderate spells of snowfall, he added.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district saw mild snowfall. It recorded a low of minus 3.4 degree Celsius.

Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district was the coldest place in the state with a low of minus 4.6 degree.

Shimla recorded the minimum temperature at 3.7 degrees Celsius, while it was 0.6 degree in Manali and 2.8 degrees in Dharamsala.

IANS

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Pakistan International Airlines sacks over 50 employees for fake degrees

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Pakistan International Airlines

Karachi, Dec 29 : Pakistan International Airlines has sacked over 50 employees, including pilots and cabin crew, for holding fake degrees, the media reported on Saturday.

A statement by the country’s national carrier said that the employees were fired on the instructions of the Supreme Court in a fake degrees case. Three pilots and 50 crew staff were sacked, Geo News reported.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar had taken notice of alleged appointment of pilots holding fake qualifications in January this year.

A two-member bench headed by the Chief Justice had issued a deadline of December 28 to the Civil Aviation Authority for completing the verifications of the degrees of pilots.

IANS

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