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DESTINATION CELEBRATIONS: THE BEST OF 2017!

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Destination Celebrations

After destination weddings, comes destination celebrations, a trend that’s picking up quite fast in India. So whether it’s a babymoon in Russia or a naming ceremony in France, it’s all about what’s new and exciting across the world.

Here are some of our favorite “Celebration Vacations” for this year.

1. Babymoons in Russia –While Russia is quite famous for New Year’s Eve, with parties, presents, and vodka toasts, it’s also quite a popular choice for grand celebrations, like a much-awaited babymoon.So whether it’s a tour around glorious St. Petersburg, with Moscow merrymaking and a visit to 12th century Suzdal. or raising toasts and singing songs in a Russian home, or a lavish Czar’s Ball in Catherine’s Palace where tiered crystal chandeliers illuminate the polished parquet floors and an orchestra invites you to waltz, your destination celebration will be a definite delight.

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2. Antarctica Anniversary Cruise – Nothing screams bucket list quite like Antarctica, especially when it’s an occasion as special as an anniversary. Take a group of friends or family to witness the abundant wildlife that calls this frozen continent home. Cross the Drake Passage and spot albatrosses, prions, petrels, penguins, seals, whales, and dolphins as you explore the Antarctic Peninsula.

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3. Birthday Biking in Italy – Celebrate a milestone birthday on a coast-to-coast bicycling tour across the fabled heartland of Italy. Ciclismo Classico’s route from the Pesaro to the Costa d’Argento passes through Le Marche, Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany, four regions celebrated for their rich history, distinctive cuisine and stunning panoramas.

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5. Frolic in France – Enjoy a sensory journey through eight different “Les Plus Beaux Villages,” voted the most beautiful in all France. Visit remnants of the great Roman Empire, cycle through landscapes painted by Cezanne and Van Gogh, and sample iconic wines and gourmet regional cuisine along the way.

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6. Alaska’s Northern Lights – Celebrate a milestone with a Northern Lights tour of Alaska. Your crew will get a dose of local culture by day, and by night have the opportunity to photograph the Aurora Borealis under the massive Alaskan sky. Zip between snow-covered trees on the back of a dog-sled, soak in the mineral-rich waters of geothermal hot springs, walk through the frozen art of an ice-sculpture museum, and sip martinis out of glasses made of ice.

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8. Chase Glaciers in Greenland – Adventurers can celebrate all that West Greenland has to offer, including calving glaciers, palatial icebergs, dog sledding, hut camping with Inuit people, wildlife viewing, a speed boat tour of the fjords surrounding Nuuk, kayaking among st icebergs, mountain biking primitive trails, and helicoptering on this amazing tour.

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Viren Batra, CEO of nirvana excursion said, “While still a trend in its infancy, the trend of destination celebrations has truly picked up speed this year. Travelling is no longer just a luxury, or something to splurge on once a year, and has become a way to celebrate and enjoy every occasion.

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India

Truckers ‘postpone’ strike following request from centre

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Truckers

Kolkata/New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Truckers on Friday “temporarily postponed” their ongoing indefinite nationwide strike following a request from the Central government as Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari was out of station.

The strike, that began from June 18, had been called from June 18 against the high diesel prices, high toll rates and a sharp hike of third party insurance premium, and had entered the fifth day on Friday.

In a media release, All India Confederation of Goods Vehicle Owners’ Association — which had called the strike — said the decision was taken following a telephone call from the Centre, which asked the strikers to come for discussion after June 27.

“We have received telephone call from (the) Central ministry, that since the Minister is not in station till June 27, (they have requested us) to call off the strike and come for discussion after June 27,” said AICOGOA General Secretary Rajendra Singh and President B. Channa Reddy.

“In view of this and in public interest, we have (decided to) postpone the truckers’ strike,” they said.

The AICOGOA said the call for talks was received from Gadkari’s office.

“We received call from Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s office and they have called us to talk… We have temporarily called off the strike because it was affecting truckers and people both,” another AICOGOA General Secretary Kausar Hussain told IANS.

Over 50 lakh vehicles remained off the road during the strike.

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Business

AI’s 76% stake sale plan crashes, other alternatives to be evaluated

We ran a disinvestment process, where we made it very clear what type of bids we were interested in receiving… We asked certain type of bidders with certain bidding criteria to participate.

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Civil Aviation Ministry

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) The Central government has said that a 76 per cent stake sale process of the national carrier Air India has ended, as “no interest” was shown by bidders, however, it remains committed to the strategic divestment for which other alternatives will be evaluated.

“We ran a disinvestment process, where we made it very clear what type of bids we were interested in receiving… We asked certain type of bidders with certain bidding criteria to participate,” said Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

“No body expressed any interest during that process. So just by that set of those circumstances it is clear that that process right now is over… We have to move forward and we have to consider other alternatives, now as market conditions as industry circumstances change, we will evaluate all those alternatives but that particular specific process for the moment has come to an end, if need be, we can restart that or any other process depending upon the appropriate market circumstances.”

However, the government clearly stated that it is still committed to the idea of Air India’s strategic divestment.

Sinha added: “The government is committed to strategic disinvestment, what the modalities are and the circumstances are, we will have to monitor and evaluate as we go along.”

According to the Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu a few days back the Empowered Group of Ministers set up to look at the — Air India Specific Alternate Mechanism — reviewed the situation.

The minister, who holds the charge of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said: “… Because there was no interest we have decided to review the situation soon. In the meantime to ensure that Air India runs properly a plan is being prepared by the Air India management to ensure that AI continues continues operate efficiently.

On May 31, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said that “no response” was received even during the extended submission deadline for the ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) bids under Air India’s divestment process.

“As informed by the Transaction Adviser, no response has been received for the Expression of Interest floated for the strategic disinvestment of Air India,” the ministry had said in a tweet.

“Further course of action will be decided appropriately.”

The government on May 1 had released a detailed document on clarifications sought by interested bidders regarding the divestment process.

The clarification document outlined that net current liabilities as Rs 88.16 billion (Rs 8,816 crore) and “these will remain with AI and AIXL (Air India Express) as these have been incurred in the course of business.”

“After deducting Rs 88,160 mn from Rs 333,920 mn, the remaining figure of INR 245,760 mn is the debt and liability quantum that will remain with AI and AIXL.”

As per the old timelines, the submission deadline for the EOI bids was earlier extended to May 31 and consequently, the date for the “intimation to the Qualified Interested Bidders” — QIB — which was supposed to have been the next stage was slated for June 15.

It was expected that by August-end, the government will be able to determine the highest bidder.

On March 28, the government had issued a Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) inviting ‘EOI’ for the strategic divestment of AI, along with the airline’s shares in AIXL and AISATS (Air India SATS Airport Services) from private entities including the airline’s employees.

The Central government owns 100 per cent equity of Air India. In turn, the airline holds full stake in Air India Express, while it holds 50 per cent stake in the joint venture AISATS.

Accordingly, it has been planned to divest 76 per cent government stake in AI, 100 per cent in AIXL and 50 per cent in AISATS.

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Lifestyle

Motorcyclist on a multi-nation anti-plastic mission

Abhimanyu Chakrovorthy, 31, has set off on a 10,000 km crowdfunded motorcycle expedition through India and five neighbouring Southeast Asian countries to spread awareness of its pernicious effects and to encourage people to shun its use.

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anti plastic campaign

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) With India estimated to generate 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day, media professional Abhimanyu Chakrovorthy, 31, has set off on a 10,000 km crowdfunded motorcycle expedition through India and five neighbouring Southeast Asian countries to spread awareness of its pernicious effects and to encourage people to shun its use.

“I have always been environmentally conscious about issues such as climate change and wildlife, and I used to practice this concept of outdoor ethics called ‘Leave No Trace’ in the Himalayas where you pick up your own waste and dispose it off properly.

“I am also a motorcycle enthusiast who has toured quite extensively across India. So this presented a unique opportunity to merge my two passions: Motorcycling and addressing the menace of plastic pollution in Southeast Asia and India. Hence this trip from New Delhi, covering more than 10,000 km, travelling to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Nepal to raise awareness on plastic pollution,” Chakrovorthy told IANS in an interview just before he set off.

How exactly will it work on the ground?

During the journey, through tie-ups with NGOs and schools in the five countries, he has planned beach and city clean-up initiatives and will conduct short sessions/presentations with them on the global scenario in plastic pollution and what India is doing to fight it.

“Through these workshops, I will share knowledge about India’s waste management system, and also learn from them their solutions to the plastic pollution problem. Some of these countries have taken affirmative action on plastic and I want to understand more of what and how they’re doing it. The focus of my work will be on reducing, reusing and recycling waste as much as possible. Through this trip, I plan to document plastic consumption in these countries and their waste management processes,” Chakrovorthy explained.

The planning, he said, had been quite a nightmare. For instance, he figured it would cost Rs 70,000 one way through Myanmar and at least Rs 80,000 one way through Thailand.

“At this stage, a friend told me about (crowdoutsourcing platform) Milaap. This presented some hope because I couldn’t bear the cost on my own. So I got down to work and prepared my statement of purpose over one week for the trip to be advertised on Milaap.

“The fundraiser is still live on the platform and I am hoping to raise some money through it. My target is Rs 3 lakh and till now I have reached just Rs 40,000 but I am hopeful my story will resonate with people and some funding comes through Milaap. I believe the momentum against plastic pollution is strong and through this trip I will highlight all the challenges that come with waste management in Southeast Asia and India,” Chakrovorthy explained.

What about the back-up for the journey?

“I am positive that Plan A will work out, because there’s still some time to raise funds (through the platform). I am also in talks with a few potential sponsors who might come on board to help me out with resources. However, the Plan B is to simply skip Nepal and put my bike on train from Imphal (on the return leg) to New Delhi in case I fall short of money. Other than this, I don’t see any other issue,” Chakrovorthy responded.

What of the future?

“In the near future, I will be organising few more clean-ups in association with embassies and institutions such as Delhi Civil Defence and Delhi Police focusing on communities and societies by asking them to moderate their consumption so that less waste ends up in our ever-increasing landfills,” Chakrovorthy concluded.

(Vishnu Makhijani can be contacted at [email protected] )

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