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International flights not to operate till June-end, decision in July

Passenger air services were suspended on March 25 due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19.

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Air India Flight

New Delhi, May 30 : The Centre on Saturday decided not open up international air travel till June-end, while the decision to restart services will be taken only in July, depending upon the prevailing circumstances at that time.

The development came as the fifth phase of the national lockdown was announced on Saturday which will last in the containment zones from till June 30.

The guidelines said that only a limited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country, including international air travel of passengers till June-end.

The Centre had allowed limited domestic passenger flights — about one-third of the summer schedule — to operate between metros and other destinations from May 25.

Passenger air services were suspended on March 25 due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19.

Travel

Pak PM launches initiative to protect, promote national parks

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said one of the purposes of the project is to rebuild the pandemic-hit economy and stimulate sustainable green growth.

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Imran Khan Pakistan PM

Islamabad, July 3 : Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan launched an initiative to preserve nature by protecting and promoting 15 national parks in an effort to increase the country’s forest cover.

The prime minister on Thursday inaugurated the Protected Areas Initiative which is part of his government’s Green Stimulus vision launched earlier this year to increase forest cover and create jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The government will protect, govern and manage 15 national parks ecologically,” said Khan, adding that out of these national parks nine will be new while six others were announced previously but were never protected.

He told the launching ceremony that the initiative will benefit future generations and almost 5,000 direct jobs will be generated related to these parks in the initial phase.

According to the prime minister, the national parks will be opened for the public once the government has finalized the guidelines for tourists.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said one of the purposes of the project is to rebuild the pandemic-hit economy and stimulate sustainable green growth.

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Lifestyle

Explore history of America in Philadelphia

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This Fourth of July, travel back in time to explore American Revolution history in Philadelphia is called the Birthplace of America and the first World Heritage City in the United States. This is where the great American Dream was founded. It’s where courageous visionaries crafted the model for modern-day democracy that inspires people globally to embrace the power of their individuality and our human potential.

This Fourth of July, relive the birth of United States with virtual tours of the Historic Mile in Philadelphia. Within one square mile, visitors will find all of the below and more:

  • Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that changed the world as this was where the several fundamental debates took place that lay the foundation of the United States of America and helped the founders of the nation to adopt both the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.
  • The Liberty Bell, a symbol of freedom that predates the birth of the USA. Legend holds it sustained its trademark crack when it was rung to announce the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
  • The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dynamic story of the American Revolution using its rich collection of Revolutionary-era artifacts, personal items, letters, diaries, and works of art.
  • The President’s House, where both George Washington and John Adams spent most of their presidencies before the White House was built in Washington, D.C.
  • National Museum of American Jewish History, the only major national museum dedicated to telling the story of the Jewish people in America from 1654 to present.
  • African American Museum in Philadelphia, where visitors can explore the history and stories of African-American people and those of the African Diaspora. The exhibit Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776 – 1876 recounts the stories of and contributions made by people of African descent in Philadelphia during the tumultuous years following the founding of this nation.
  • The National Constitution Center, an interactive museum dedicated to the document on which the nation was founded, and the impact different interpretations of the document have had on the nation and world since it was adopted in 1789. Hamilton: The Constitutional Clashes That Shaped a Nation an exhibit that explores Alexander Hamilton’s fraught relationships with James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Aaron Burr, provides an intimate look into the founding father’s enduring role in the constitutional and political arguments that continue to create sparks to this day, through December 31, 2019.
  • Carpenters’ Hall, the meeting place of the First Continental Congress in 1774. The seeds of the American Revolution were planted here when delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies agreed to boycott British imports.
  • Benjamin Franklin Museum and Franklin Court, the Philadelphia home of statesman, author, printer, inventor, postmaster, activist and more. The building also is the first post office in the United States.
  • The American Philosophical Society Museum is the oldest learned society in the United States, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” See exhibitions drawn from the Society’s renowned collections that trace American history and science from the Founding Fathers to the digital age.
  • Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously-inhabited street in America.
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India

Private trains’ fares to be competitive with airlines: Chairman

Yadav said the train sets would have to be brought by private operators and maintained by them.

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Tejas Express Indian Railways

New Delhi, July 2 : A day after inviting the request for qualifications from private entities for running 151 trains on 109 pairs of routes, Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav on Thursday said the private train operations would begin by April 2023 and the fares in these trains would be competitive with air fares on similar routes.

Addressing a virtual press conference, Yadav said private players in passenger train operations would mean a quantum jump in introduction of modern technology and high-speed coaches.

The improvement in technology would also mean the coaches that required maintenance after 4,000 km, would need maintenance after every 40,000 km, that’s either once or twice a month, he added.

Yadav said the train sets would have to be brought by private operators and maintained by them.

“Private train operations are likely to begin by April 2023. All coaches will be procured under the ‘Make in India’ policy. Fares in private trains will be competitive and rates on other modes of transport, like airlines and buses, will have to be kept in mind,” he said.

Yadav said the private operators would pay fixed haulage charges for path, stations, access to railway infrastructure and charges for electricity consumed to the Indian Railways for 35 years. It will also share revenue with the Indian Railways through competitive bidding.

The private entity would have to ensure 95 per cent punctuality and not more than one failure per lakh kilometre of travel. “If any performance indicators are not met by private players, they will be penalised,” Yadav said.

He also said there would be a power metre in every locomotive and private operators would pay for the actual amount of energy consumed.

“Through this the common man will get better trains, better technology and at low cost. The Indian Railways will continue to run 95 per cent of the trains,” he said.

The Chairman said of the 2,800 mail express train operated by the railways, only 151 trains, just 5 per cent, was being given to the private players.

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