Monday, September 30, 2013

PM Meet Sharif, stresses on end to ceasefire violations

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PM meets Sharif, stresses on end to ceasefire violations</p><br /> <p>
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did some direct speaking with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif laying down the precondition of end to violations of ceasefire along the LoC for progress towards resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue on various issues.
It was announced that the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two countries have been tasked to come up with a clear plan to restore ceasefire and the way forward to ensure that it remains in force and in place.
No timeframe was set for this but the Indian side said they would like to address the problem as soon as possible.
Stability along the LoC and shutting down of the terror machinery on the Pakistan soil directed at India formed the core agenda for Singh in his first-ever meeting with the recently-elected Sharif.
Sharif drove to Singh’s hotel New York Palace in midtown Manhattan for the meeting.
The two Prime Ministers extended invitations to each other for official visits but no dates were indicated.
It is unlikely that Singh would achieve his desire of visiting Pakistan where he was born 81 years ago, given the current state of bilateral ties and the fact that his tenure is nearing its end.
For the record, India’s National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told a media briefing at which both Indian and Pakistani journalists were present that the meeting was cordial, useful and constructive.
Singh also demanded effective action to bring to justice the perpetrators of 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai, he said the talks that came against the grim backdrop of twin terror attacks near Jammu on Thursday.
Menon said the immediate priority is to “get out of the situation” which the two countries were because of cross border terrorism and LoC ceasefire violations.
Singh told Sharif that “peace on LoC is a precondition” for improvement in ties.
The two leaders agreed to see improvement in situation on the LoC where ceasefire violations are taking place on the Pakistani side.
At the meeting, Singh raised the issue of continued cross-border terrorism and the support groups like Jamaat-ud-Dawa led by Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed get from the Pakistan government.
On Mumbai attack investigations in Pakistan which India feels is not making any progress, Sharif told Singh that action will be taken against the perpetrators.
In this context he referred to the visit of his country’s judicial committee to India recently. Sharif said Pakistan also suffers from terrorism.
Asked how hopeful the Indian side was about Pakistan taking action on India’s concern, Menon said proof of success and usefulness of the meetings would be known only in the months to come.
He said both leaders desire to have better relations but no decision on another meeting between them was taken at this stage.
At another briefing five blocks away, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Abbas Jilani described the meeting “extremely positive and useful”.
“The main purpose was to create a conducive environment to discuss and resolve all outstanding issues,” he said. “The two leaders expressed their commitment to resolve all their issues,” Jilani said.
Prime Minister Singh emphasised that resolution of all issues including Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek was important for bringing peace in the region, he said.
He said the two leaders discussed the situation on the LoC and agreed that the accord reached in 2004 should be respected in letter and spirit.
Sharif emphasised that the two countries have no option but to sustain peaceful dialogue between them.
“Terrorism was discussed. We are aware of your concerns on terrorism, and I think our concerns are also known on the Indian side,” Jilani said.
To a question whether the army and Sharif were on the same page, Jilani said: “All institutions in Pakistan are on the same page. There is a misperception on this issue. In Pakistan, the decision-making process is the same as in all democratic countries – all decisions are taken through consensus.”
Jilani claimed that the 26/11 probe in Pakistan had slowed down because of the delay in the visit of the Judicial Commission to India.
After the visit, they would submit the report, the trial process would be speeded up, he said.
The NSA said both sides agreed that for any further movement in the relationship, peace and tranquility along the LoC the pre-condition and agreed to work for it.
Asked whether there was discussion on restoring peace process between the two nations in its entirety, he said, “right now our effort is focussed on making it possible to move towards broader dialogue and that stage hasn’t come yet.”
He underlined that at the moment, the priority was to address current concerns over cross-border terror and ceasefire violations.
While describing the meeting as useful and productive, he said the “only proof (of how productive the meeting was) will be in the months to come.”
“The meeting shows that we have had a high- level exchange, achieved a new state. Now (we) have some understanding how we can move forward,” Menon added.


 

Cellphones to be distributed under MGNREGA

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Net-enabled cellphones to be distributed under MGNREGA </p> <p>
The ambitious scheme to be launched ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 is aimed at enhancing tele-density in rural areas.According to the proposal, one person per family registered under MGNREGA scheme will be provided with the cellphone for which a recharge of Rs 30 per month will be provided for free for two years.
This will entitle the users 30 minutes of airtime, 30 SMSes and 30 Mbps net or data usage per month.
If users cross the Rs 30 limit, they will have to get a recharge at their own cost.
To get the cellphone, the beneficiary will have to pay Rs 300.
Sources said the government prefers to provide the cellphone to a woman member of the beneficiary family.
The scheme will be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) at a cost of Rs 4,850 crore spread over a period of four years to cover 2.5 crore beneficiaries, they said.
Universal Service Obligation is access to telegraph service to people in rural and remote areas at affordable and reasonable prices.
25 lakh people will be provided with the handsets in the first year, while 50 lakh more beneficiaries will be added in the next year. The cellphone is likely to cost Rs 1,200 for which BSNL – the service provider – will undertake competitive bidding, the sources said.
According to the proposal, the scheme would enable people in rural areas to access information related to agriculture, health care, education, financial services, skill development and employment.
Around five crore households have been provided work in year 2012-13.


 

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Cellphones to be distributed under MGNREGA

 
 
http://ddinews.gov.in/Social/Social%20-%20Top%20Story/PublishingImages/villagewomantalking-wm_0.jpg” border=”0″ />Updated on : 29-09-2013 10:17 AM

Net-enabled cellphones could soon be provided to 2.5 crore people under the MGNREGA scheme. 
The ambitious scheme to be launched ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 is aimed at enhancing tele-density in rural areas.

According to the proposal, one person per family registered under MGNREGA scheme will be provided with the cellphone for which a recharge of Rs 30 per month will be provided for free for two years. 
This will entitle the users 30 minutes of airtime, 30 SMSes and 30 Mbps net or data usage per month. 
If users cross the Rs 30 limit, they will have to get a recharge at their own cost. 
To get the cellphone, the beneficiary will have to pay Rs 300. 
Sources said the government prefers to provide the cellphone to a woman member of the beneficiary family.
The scheme will be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) at a cost of Rs 4,850 crore spread over a period of four years to cover 2.5 crore beneficiaries, they said. 
Universal Service Obligation is access to telegraph service to people in rural and remote areas at affordable and reasonable prices. 
25 lakh people will be provided with the handsets in the first year, while 50 lakh more beneficiaries will be added in the next year. The cellphone is likely to cost Rs 1,200 for which BSNL – the service provider – will undertake competitive bidding, the sources said. 
According to the proposal, the scheme would enable people in rural areas to access information related to agriculture, health care, education, financial services, skill development and employment. 
Around five crore households have been provided work in year 2012-13.


 

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” WATCH WORLD AWARD 2013″
EDITPUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 BY SAGARMEDIA
Dear N.K.
You are cordially invited on friday evening of 4th October for The ” WATCH WORLD AWARD 2013″ at WESTIN hotel located at IFFCO crossing, Gurgaon MG Road.
The awards would be followed by entertainment , cocktails & dinner . 
The evening will be witnessed by renowned Bollywood stars , political personalities & ambassadors of various countries . 
Feel free to extend the invite to your special friends to accompany you & it would be my pleasure to host them as well . 
Invitation attached RSVP to the undersigned . 
Look forward seeing you at the AWARDS ! 
Best Regards
Kajal Malhotra 
+91 9810133270


 

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Hotel industry to be incentivized to broaden Dubai’s four and three star offering
Mumbai, 30th September 2013: The hotel investment industry was given a financial incentive to develop more mid-range hotels in Dubai, in a move to swell the Emirate’s supply of four and three star properties. Eligible hotels will be granted a concession on the standard 10 per cent Municipality Fee which is levied on the room rate for each night of occupancy.
The initiative is designed to incentivize hotel owners to bring forward their construction timelines, creating more three and four star hotel rooms in Dubai more quickly. It is the result of collaboration between government partners DTCM and Dubai Municipality and part of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing’s (DTCM) strategy to achieve Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020, which aims to attract 20 million annual visitors to Dubai by 2020 – a strategy approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in May of this year.
The announcement was made today by His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of DTCM, during a keynote session at the Hotel Show, currently being held at Dubai World Trade Centre.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of DTCM said: “In order to achieve our headline objective of 20 million visitors per year by 2020, we need to both increase the overall stock of hotel rooms in Dubai and widen the range of options for visitors. In recent years the number of three and four star establishments has increased, but it’s vital that we continue to engineer the growth of this range.”
“A number of hotel properties are either under construction or in the planning stages in Dubai and under the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, this incentive has been designed to bring those properties to market sooner. While our Tourism Vision has an end date of 2020, our strategy is focused on continual growth year-on-year, and we want to see the destination offer noticeably broaden every year. The equation is simple – the sooner the property opens, the bigger financial incentive the hotel owner will receive.”
Investors in new hotels will be granted a waiver on the Fee for a period of four years from the date the permit to construct is granted and provided that this date is between 1st October 2013 and 31st December 2017.
Given to an audience of investors, hotel general managers and media, the interview with Almarri at the Hotel Show covered a range of subjects related to collaboration between government and private sector stakeholders within the tourism industry to ensure that Dubai delivers its Tourism Vision for 2020. They included:
• The new hotel classification scheme which became law in May 2013, ensuring that each hotel establishment in Dubai is benchmarked in-line with an international-standard grading scheme
• The need to collectively target the wealth of first time global travellers from China, the Indian sub-continent and Africa, by identifying the demands of these travellers and ensuring that Dubai’s destination offer meets these demands – through the development of new hotels, attractions and experiences
• Ensuring that the diversity of Dubai’s leisure tourism offering is communicated effectively and used to drive an increase in the average length of stay
• Focusing on continuing to develop the Emirate’s business and leisure events calendars and using events as a means to attract visitors.
Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020 was approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in May 2013 and includes the headline objective of welcoming 20 million annual visitors by 2020: In 2012, Dubai welcomed 10 million visitors for the first time; the Vision requires a doubling of this figure to meet the 2020 target.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri stated during the interview: “We continue to focus on three key objectives: maintaining market share in our existing source markets; increasing market share in markets where there is high growth potential; and increasing the number of repeat visits. In order to successfully achieve these objectives, it is vital that we harness the collective power of key stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors in Dubai and abroad. The incentive announced today is just one example of the initiatives we will be taking to help foster this collaboration.”
***
Notes to editors
About Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM)
With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing’s (DTCM) mission is to increase the awareness of Dubai to global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment into the Emirate.
DTCM is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of Dubai’s tourism sector; markets and promotes the Emirate’s commerce sector; and is responsible for the licencing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. Brands and departments within the DTCM portfolio include Dubai Convention and Events Bureau, Dubai Calendar, and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (formerly known as Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment). In addition to its headquarters in Dubai, DTCM operates 19 offices worldwide, with a 20th – the fourth office to be opened in China – opening in October 2013.
For further information about DTCM, please contact:
Mr. Carl Vaz
Director – India
Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing
1104 Arcadia, 11th Floor
Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021


 

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Yuvraj back in Team India, squad for Oz series announced
 
Yuvraj back in Team India, squad for Oz series announcedUpdated on : 30-09-2013 02:21 PM
In-form senior batsman Yuvraj Singh made a comeback but pacer Umesh Yadav was dropped from the 15-member Indian cricket team announced on Monday for the first Twenty20 International and three ODIs against Australia starting 10th October in Rajkot.
Yuvraj, who last played for India against England in an ODI in Dharamsala last January, was recalled after a string of fantastic scores for India A against West Indies A and a solid display for India Blue in the recently-concluded NKP Salve Challenger Series. 
Yuvraj scored 337 runs in five List A matches at an average of 67.40 with a highest score of 123 against the touring Caribbean side. He also scored a quickfire 52 against West Indies A in a T20 game in Bangalore. 
With his more than useful left-arm spin as back-up, Yuvraj is certain to play an important role in that Indian bowling line-up in the middle overs. 
Yuvraj replaced Dinesh Karthik, who didn’t do much since his comeback save a lone half century in the Champions Trophy. 
Opener Murali Vijay, who hasn’t set the limited overs stage on fire was also dropped from the squad announced by the selection committee headed by Sandeep Patil. 
One of the notable exclusions was pacer Umesh Yadav, who didn’t do his case a world of good by performing poorly in the Challenger Series giving away 67 runs in 10 overs and a whopping 85 runs in 9 overs respectively in the two matches he played for India Red. 
Bengal speedster Mohammed Shami, seasoned Karnataka seamer Ranganath Vinay Kumar and promising Saurashtra left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat were retained from the pace attack that played its last international series in Zimbabwe. 
Haryana paceman Mohit Sharma was dropped from the squad while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma made a comeback after well deserved rest. Bhuvneshwar bowled India Blue to Challenger Series triumph with a four-wicket haul in the final. 
Young Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Perveez Rasool made way for senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin while Amit Mishra held on to his place in the squad having taken 18 wickets in the last series against Zimbabwe. 
The reserve batsman’s place in the squad was a battle between Ambati Rayudu and Ajinkya Rahane with very little to choose between them. In the end, Rayudu who now plays for Baroda in Ranji Trophy, got the nod ahead of the Mumbaikar. 
According to a reliable source, the names of senior pros Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir did not even come up for discussion but the selectors will be keenly following their performance in the four-day match against the West Indies A in Hubli, Karnataka from Wednesday. 
Squad (1 T20 International and first 3 ODIs):
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ranganath Vinay Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Amit Mishra, Ambati Rayudu. 


 

Lalu Yadav in jail, faces disqualification as MP

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Fodder scam:
In a body blow to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) before next year’s Lok Sabha polls, its President Lalu Prasad Yadav has been convicted by a special CBI court in Ranchi in the fodder scam corruption case that disqualifies him from Parliament and renders him ineligible for contesting elections for at least six years. 
Another 44 accused, including former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra, six politicians and four IAS officers, were also convicted by court of Pravas Kumar Singh for fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from Chaibasa treasury. 
The court fixed October three for pronouncement of sentence against Yadav, Mishra and others.
The RJD chief faces immediate disqualification as Lok Sabha member under a recent Supreme Court order that an MP or MLA would stand disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more and under some other laws even without jail sentence. He would be the first MP to lose his Lok Sabha membership under the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The August judgement of the Supreme Court struck down a provision in the electoral law that provided protection to sitting MPs and MLAs by allowing them to continue in their posts if they appeal against a lower court conviction and secure a stay of the order. 
Earlier, Prasad arrived at the special CBI court before delivery of the verdict in the 17-year-old case. 
The court had on September 17 set Sunday’s date to pass orders in the case. Among others, IAS officers Mahesh Prasad, Phoolchand Singh, Beck Juleus, K Arumugam, Income Tax officer A C Choudhary, former AHD officials and fodder suppliers were also among the accused.
Prasad had begun arguments on September 9 and ended it on September 17 after the Supreme Court turned down his request to change the current special court to another court after he apprehended political conspiracy. 
Following the Animal Husbandry scam, popularly known as the Fodder Scam, Prasad had to resign as chief minister of Bihar. 
After installing his wife Rabri Devi as the chief minister, Yadav had surrendered to a court in Patna on July 31, 1997. Later, he came to Ranchi following a court order that Ranchi had the jurisdiction of the case. 
The Mecon Guest House was converted to a camp jail in Ranchi before he was shifted to the old Birsa Munda Jail at Circular road. 
After Jharkhand’s bifurcation on November 15, 2000, the litigations were brought before the Supreme Court whether the Patna High Court had the jurisdiction on the cases in this part of the undivided Bihar and trial was stayed till December 2000 to December 2001. 
The SC had said in November, 2001 that trial would be conducted by special courts in Ranchi. Trial in Ranchi began in March, 2002 by seven special courts. 
The case was posted for defence of Prasad from May 15 and Prasad’s counsel examined 29 witnesses in his defence. But when the defence continued to skip dates, the court fixed July 15 to deliver the judgement and asked the accused to complete arguments by July 1. 
Subsequently, Prasad moved the Supreme Court pleading shifting of his case from the court of Pravas Kumar Singh on the ground of political conspiracy, which the apex court struck down, paving the way for the first judgement against Prasad.


 

Workshop organized by Group of Adult Education JNU

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Three day workshop organized by Group of Adult Education, School of Social Sciences, JNU
September 29th 2013: A three day workshop was organized by the Group of Adult Education, JNU from September 27th to September 29th 2013 to promote gender harmony on and off campus, specially focussing on the gender discord that gave rise to the shocking mishappening on July 31stin JNU, when a male student brutally attacked a female student and then committed suicide. The workshop was another serious effort in the series of efforts that the Group of Adult Education is making individually on its own initiative to figure out better ways of resolving issues among students related to different aspects of their life, especially those, that they find hard to discuss with others and end up in spoiling their career or life. The theme of the workshop was that instead of adopting a short-term superficial approach of making the system stronger and more oriented towards punishment and enforcement of rights and laws, there should be a serious attempt to ‘save’ lives and careers from being spoilt by providing the right king of education and imbibing harmonious culture among students along with the values that promote harmony rather than discord and contradictions. The Group of Adult education is planning to launch an active campaign across the campus to increase awareness about such issues and save students from getting  indulged into destructive behaviour of this kind, as a part of a long-term strategy aimed at creating value-based human resource that not only survives to earn a living but also knows to earn it in a harmonious manner ensuring dignity and safety for all sections of the campus that might be weaker or marginalised in one way or the other.
JNU’s Vice Chancellor addressed the students saying that such efforts should not come as a reaction to mishappenings or fatal events but infact, they should be practiced and incorporated into the essential elements of JNU culture so that such events should not occur at all. He emphasised that JNU can and has to become an example for other universities across the country for promoting a harmonious culture that respects the dignity of every individual equally. He mentioned that out of the four committees set up by JNU to scrutinize the 31st July mishappening, one of the committee is for addressing student issues through the way that the Group of Adult Education is promoting, though the Group has not been assigned any task by the Committee. The Group has been proactively engaging students through different means to be a part of a ‘dialogue’ rather than ‘discord.’ The Vice Chancellor also suggested that such training programmes could be devised not only for the students but for the staff of JNU as well. The Group is also planning to introduce a new course or a small training programme for all JNU students that might be made mandatory for all students, if approved, so that a sensitive and positive culture finds way in the campus through practical education and training.
Organizer and coordinator of the workshop, Dr. Ajay Kumar, stressed that in the present scenario, where insensitivity towards certain sections of the society, especially women, is increasing, a different and novel approach of sensitizing the students towards these sections is required lest more careers would be spoiled and more lives would be ruined. He showed his concern towards the confrontational, egoistic culture among the youth today that may lead them nowhere and prove a threat to their future as well as the society as a whole. Chairperson of the Group, Dr. Bhagwan Josh also addressed the students and called the efforts by the Group as a ‘creative exercise’ which should keep continuing for the benefit of students in order to address their concerns effectively and positively.
Experts from the academic as well as the corporate world shared engaged students into constructive practices through documentary films on the condition of women in India, Kabir and harmony, apart from games, special recreational activities, meditation sessions, serious debates and discussion.
Mr. Raj S. Amonkar, (expert) said that “we can give only what we have within ourselves.” He added that in order to change our behaviour towards sections in the society that have been victimised by power structures and power relationships, we need to start from ‘self understanding’.  Experiential wisdom needs to be integrated within the education process. The “practice of wisdom and the wisdom of practice” are the present missing links in our  education system. This will enable every student and teacher to optimize learning, living, and contributing that symbolize harmony and respect for others.
Dr Suneet Varma, (expert) stressed that power relationships in the society are a cause for such problems, in particular the patriarchal structure of the society, and the solution lies in understanding ourselves better. Further, there is a need to change our approach towards each other based on an experientially grounded knowledge of the oneness of humanity, which is only possible via the insights available in wisdom traditions. In this regard, Indian thought has an immense lot to offer, and not just to Indians but the world at large.


 

AirAsia is Business Traveller’s ‘Best Low-Cost Airline’

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SEPANG, 30 October 2013 – AirAsia was once again distinguished as the best in its class, when the airline was awarded with the ‘Best Low-Cost Airline’ award at the 2013 BusinessTraveller Asia-Pacific’s Awards ceremony, held at the Conrad Hotel in Hong Kong recently.
This is the second successive win for AirAsia, a nod to the airline’s growing power and its stature as the market leader in the low cost carrier segment.
AirAsia first won the ‘Best Low-Cost Airline’ award category last year, when it was first introduced by Business Traveller Asia Pacific in recognition to the growing force of budget carriers in the region.
AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes said, “This second ‘Best Low-Cost Carrier’ award win represents the unwavering support and belief from our guests towards our services and products. We thank them for choosing AirAsia as the airline of choice for their travels.

“We will continue to work hard to maintain our leadership spot and uphold our pledge to present our guests with unbeatable low fares and exceptional products and services. This win is also due to the collective contributions of our ‘AirAsia Allstars, whose hard work, passion, dedication and creativity made this recognition possible.
The Travel Awards ceremony is a premier annual event for over 20 years and a much awaited event by top players in travel and hospitality, to etch their names in the industry’s roll of honour.
AirAsia was chosen as the inaugural award winner through votes by Business Traveller readers, recognizing the airline as a service provider which has maintained impeccable standards and making journeys seamless and productive.
This comprehensive survey was conducted annually among Business Traveller subscribers, and the 2013 results are based on data collected between April and June this year.
For more than 20 years the awards have rewarded the excellence that its readers have experienced on their travels during the previous year.
AirAsia is a household name which has flown over 200 million guests since it was established nearly twelve years ago with a mission to democratize air travel in the region and has been operationally profitable from day one of its launch as a low-cost carrier. The airline now has operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, servicing the most extensive network with 85 destinations.
Business Traveller heads the portfolio of titles belonging to the international publishing house, Panacea Publishing, headquartered in London. Business Traveller Asia-Pacific is one of 10 titles around the world, including Business Traveller China.
Since its first issue in April 1982, Business Traveller Asia-Pacific has provided a valuable resource for frequent travellers and served as a dynamic platform for their concerns.

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