Raj era government institutions feeding on tax-payers’ money

first_imgIn the era of big-bang reforms and privatisation, a section of Indian bureaucracy continues to exist quietly, without making any valuable contribution to the country or its economy.Directorates, inspectorates, controllers, research stations and several other government entities, which are relics of the British and licence-permit Raj, are still in operation despite having outlived their utility. Mail Today, in the first part of its investigation series, blows the lid off these government offices feeding on the tax-payers’ money.A survey of central government ministries dealing with sectors such as agriculture, health, environment, water resources, commerce and food supplies shows that tax payers’ money continues to be spent on government offices which have no meaningful role to play anymore. Such offices are in addition to the public sector units which have become useless, as exposed by Mail Today recently.Of no consequenceThe list of redundant offices includes directorates for various crops and commodities (sugar, cotton, jute, cement, rice, tobacco, oilseeds, pulses, vanaspati etc.), National Test House, National Oilseeds and Vegetable Oils Development Board, Indian Plywood Industry Research and Training Institute, National Institute of Water Sports and Hindustan Vegetable Oil Corporation, among others.The NTH laboratory in Ghaziabad.Most of these offices handle minor regulatory roles or are just standard setting bodies or testing centres – functions which are already being carried out by fullfledged regulatory authorities. Some others produce training manuals, conduct training programmes or simply generate inconsequential reports. Most of these offices, however, occupy prime real estate and have hundreds of employees on their rolls. “Such bodies have no business to exist after they have outlived their role, purpose and utility. In the past, many committees of the government have made clear recommendations on what needs to be done with such organisations,” said former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian.advertisement’Rehabilitate staff’Some former officers are of the opinion that the cases of such offices should be taken up one by one. Former power secretary EAS Sarma said: “The fate of each institution should be decided by examining if it has become dysfunctional because it is no longer needed or because there are vested interests against its functioning.”The existence of such offices, however, is frustrating for other departments which are short of staff and loaded with pending work. “They have frozen appointments in central government offices at a time when many departments are facing a short-age of staff. Why can’t useless organisations be wound up and the staff used elsewhere,” said a senior government official.The irrelevance of some of these offices can be gauged from the fact that almost all their functions have been moved to new departments. For instance, the directorate of vanaspati, vegetable oils and fats – a wing of the department of food and public distribution – continues to exist despite all its regulatory functions being taken care of by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, set up in 2006.National Test House (NTH), set up a century ago in Kolkata as a wing of the Indian Railways for testing of products manufactured locally, is involved in functions similar to those of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). In 2002, the government decided to bring NTH under BIS, but nothing has been done till now. NTH has regional labs in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Ghaziabad, Guwahati and Jaipur. Its Ghaziabad complex is spread over 19 acres.The expenditure reforms commission had recommended in 2000 that seven crop directorates (rice, wheat, millet, sugarcane, cotton, jute and tobacco) be wound up because all they were doing was forwarding reports from states producing these commodities to the crop division in the agriculture ministry. It suggested that two other directorates – oilseeds and pulses – be merged with the agriculture ministry. The commission also saw no justification for the existence of National Oilseeds and Vegetable Oils Development Board and National Coconut Development Board. But all these boards and directorates are still functional in 2012.The Directorate of Cotton Development in Mumbai.Click here to EnlargeThe directorate of tobacco keeps promoting the industry, unmindful of the existence of a separate tobacco board to do so. The significance of government machinery to promote tobacco may also be questioned as another wing of the government, the health ministry, spends crores of rupees on the anti-tobacco campaign.The National Sugar Institute, which was set up as Imperial Institute of Sugar Technology in 1936 in Kanpur, lingers on despite sugar technology development being the mandate of at least half-a-dozen research institutes in the country. Another remnant of the ‘control and command’ economy is the development council for sugar industry.advertisement”The only option is to take a knife and start exorcising,” said Subramanian. There are many new areas where employees can be redeployed as there is shortage of staff there, he added. Sarma, though, felt if the institutions are no longer needed, the government should explore ways to rehabilitate the personnel by trying to look at the vacancies in other organisations. Otherwise, the only option is to offer voluntary retirement, he added.The ministry of water resources has multiple agencies doing peripheral work. The central soil and materials research station in the Capital is basically a soil testing outfit and is being run despite at least six other institutes handling different aspects of soil health in the country. There is no rationale behind running a water quality assessment authority when the subject is being looked into by separate pollution and groundwater boards at central and state levels. Another outfit of the ministry – national water development agency – too has a nebulous profile.”Some directorates and research stations surely need to be shut down, along with state farm corporations. If they have to do what the private sector is doing, why do we need them?” asked agriculture policy expert Devinder Sharma.last_img read more

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LOOP Wraps Up Second VLCC Loading Operation

first_imgzoom Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LLC (LOOP) has completed the second very large crude carrier (VLCC) loading operation at its deepwater port, located 18 miles off the coast of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.The vessel in question is the VLCC Nave Photon, which was chartered by Houston-based Shell Trading Company US, Reuters said citing sources close to the matter.AIS data from Marine Traffic shows that the 297,395 dwt unit departed the port on March 24. Reuters added that Nave Photon is taking the cargo to Asia.LOOP, the owner of the only U.S. crude oil deepwater port, loaded its first Supertanker, the Saudi Arabian-flagged very large crude carrier (VLCC) Shaden, in February.The VLCC, which was previously used at the facility for test loading of crude oil, left LOOP on February 18 carrying 2 million barrels of oil and is expected to arrive in Rizhao, China by mid-April.last_img read more

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Damian Lillard Hit A SeriesEnding GameWinner For The Ages

With how lopsided many of these first-round NBA playoff series have been, it would have been understandable to want the Thunder-Blazers matchup to continue beyond Tuesday, both because of its star power and because of the sheer back-and-forth competitiveness it displayed.But if the series had to end quickly, at least it went out with a bang: with Damian Lillard finishing not only with 50 points, but also with one of the greatest, most cold-blooded buzzer-beaters in NBA history — perhaps the most difficult one to ever end a playoff series, all things considered.This wasn’t Lillard’s first game-winner to end a series. He hit a more conventional one, coming off a screen for a lightning-quick catch-and-shoot opportunity, to knock out the Houston Rockets in 2014.But with Tuesday’s dagger, the Portland star finished off former MVP Russell Westbrook and his Oklahoma City club, literally waving goodbye to the visiting Thunder after nailing a shot just to the right of the Blazers’ half-court logo, a full 37 feet away from the basket. A shot from that distance would be difficult enough to knock down wide-open, let alone with an All-NBA defender like 6-foot-9 Paul George contesting it.“That’s a bad shot, I don’t care what anybody says. That’s a bad shot,” a defiant George told reporters after Oklahoma City fell, 118-115, putting an end to the five-game gentleman’s sweep.But in a way, that’s what made it such a spectacular one. Lillard wanted to take that shot. He had more than 10 seconds to make something else happen — to drive to the hoop for a closer look, or to potentially call a teammate over for a screen to get more space — and chose not to. Instead, he opted to let the clock run down to the final two seconds, took a side-step to his right and let it fly from 37. Ballgame.And despite George’s proclamation, that Lillard’s game-winner was a “bad shot” that went down anyway, consider this: Lillard had been doing stuff like this all series long. In fact, the buzzer-beater made Lillard an unthinkable 9-of-15 for the series from 30 feet and beyond, according to Second Spectrum. It’s part of the reason Lillard has been the most valuable player this postseason thus far.We’ve been critical of the Blazers and their roster construction at times in the past. A team built mostly around Lillard and CJ McCollum seems flawed, both because of the tough shots the guards rely on (especially when playing longer-wing defenders like Jrue Holiday last year) and because of the duo’s shortcomings on D. There have been some redeeming qualities present in their teamwide defense — the Blazers have been elite for years at limiting quality looks on that end of the floor. Still, the club’s calculus figured to get a lot tougher without starting center Jusuf Nurkic, who somehow had avoided serious injury in the past but then succumbed to a season-ending one just weeks before the playoffs began. And it didn’t help that the club entered this postseason having lost 10 playoff games in a row.Yet if Lillard can play anywhere close to this level going forward, it requires at least a brief reevaluation of everything. He had 34 points in the first half alone on Tuesday and hit three of his four attempts from 30-plus feet, including the one that sent the Thunder packing.Lillard’s ability to sink those shots — paired with Oklahoma City’s surprise that he’d even have the audacity to try them in some cases — was one of the key reasons Portland ran away with the series 4-1. The Thunder allowed him too much cushion, largely because defenders haven’t adjusted to the realization that Lillard, with nearly limitless range on his off-dribble jumpers, has arguably become the closest thing we have to Golden State’s Stephen Curry.Curry, Lillard and Atlanta rookie Trae Young were the only three players in the NBA to take more than 40 3-point attempts from 30 feet and beyond this past regular season, according to Basketball-Reference.com’s Play Index. Curry shot an impressive 31.1 percent, while Lillard hit 30.6 percent of his tries from that distance. (Young, promisingly, made 34.6 percent of his.)After the game, Lillard told reporters that his trainer, Phil Beckner, had him work on longer-than-usual 3-point attempts — closer to half-court — while working out in Oklahoma City earlier in the series. “I’m telling you, you’re gonna hit one of these,” he recalled Beckner saying.And unfortunately for the Thunder, that one — which might have been a bad shot for just about anybody other than Lillard — was enough to end their season in the most brutal way possible. read more

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Italian politicians push for Huawei 5G ban after Pompeo warning

first_img Apple iPhone XS Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Post a comment Sprint Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. Read Google Home Hub review Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. Sarah Tew/CNET Huawei may face a ban in Italy. VCG via Getty Images Politicians in Italy want Huawei banned from supplying equipment for the country’s 5G rollout, a report said Friday.Lega party lawmakers intend to call on Italy’s Parliament to use its “golden powers” of industrial veto to block the Chinese telecom company, according to Reuters, which cited Il Messaggero newspaper. Huawei currently sells equipment to Italian telecoms.This follows US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s warning Thursday. Pompeo said the US won’t partner with countries that adopt Huawei’s tech due to the security risks it represents. Huawei has long been accused of sharing information with the Chinese government.Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei denied those accusations this week and expressed his hope that the company could bring its equipment to the US.The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Rylo 0 Best Buy TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Turo Amazon See It $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express See at Turo Comments $999 $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express Read the AirPods review I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Security Internet Services DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Boost Mobile The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. $520 at HP What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. See It Tags Sarah Tew/CNET $999 Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) Chris Monroe/CNETcenter_img Sarah Tew/CNET Sarah Tew/CNET Share your voice $210 at Best Buy Tags HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) $299 at Amazon $155 at Google Express Read the Rylo camera preview See It Read Lenovo Smart Clock review Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) See at Amazon DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. $999 Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). $60 at Best Buy Angela Lang/CNET See it 7 $6 at Tidal $999 Turo: Save $30 on any car rental 5G Huawei,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Share your voice Read DJI Osmo Action preview $59 at eBay Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. The Cheapskate Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free.last_img read more

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CRISPR geneediting used in US patients for the first time

first_img Tags 0 CRISPR gene editing explained: What is it and how does it work? The CRISPR machines that can wipe out entire species How CRISPR could save 6 billion chickens from the meat grinder It’s been a wild six months for CRISPR in humans. After the revelations in November 2018 that Chinese scientist He Jiankui used CRISPR to edit the embryos of human babies, the scientific community called for a moratorium on human embryo editing (“germline editing”) last March. The critical difference in He’s work and the studies currently taking place in the US is when CRISPR makes the edit. In He’s case, CRISPR was introduced into the genes of an embryo, which will carry the genes throughout life. The clinical studies described here make edits to a set of cells that will eventually die, taking their CRISPR edits with them. He’s work was highly controversial and resulted in termination of his employment, with a Chinese investigation labeling his actions unethical and unlawful. Time magazine recently listed He as a pioneer in its list of 2019’s 100 most influential people. He’s profile was penned by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna, who said his work “shattered scientific, medical and ethical norms” and “will likely be remembered as one of the most shocking misapplications of any scientific tool in our history.” Post a comment The Art of Science draws beauty from medical research Share your voice CRISPR is a revolutionary gene-editing tool. ZEPHYR/Getty The first clinical trials using CRISPR-edited cells have begun in the US, with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania treating cancer patients with an experimental therapy, according to a report by NPR. CRISPR is a revolutionary gene-editing tool that can cut DNA with great precision, allowing genes to be turned off, new genes added or their functions changed. The gene editing technology is so powerful it could be used to wipe out entire species or solve long-standing agricultural problems, such as the annual culling of male chicks. Two patients, one with multiple myeloma and one with sarcoma, have received the treatment which uses an edited version of the patient’s white blood cells. It involves the US-first example of using CRISPR to edit a specific type of immune cell “ex-vivo” — outside the body. The trial was first greenlit in 2016 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and aims to recruit at least 18 participants to test how effective the CRISPR therapy is against three specific cancers. The human immune system is a remarkable evolutionary adaptation that fights off all manner of invaders. In the battle against cancer, it doesn’t always fare so well — and one of the reasons is cancer is particularly good at evading destruction and slamming on the immune system’s “brakes”. In the trial, the immune cells are removed from a patient and three edits are made to the DNA by CRISPR. The edits allow for the cells to more readily attack a tumor, inhibiting the brakes and allowing the cells to fight off the cancer. Once the edits are made in the lab, the patient’s cells are infused back into their body. This is not the first time CRISPR has been used to edit human immune cells. A team of researchers from Sichuan University in China have also been working with CRISPR-edited immune cells to treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Preliminary results from that study suggest the therapy is safe, but further study and larger sample sizes will be necessary to explore its effectiveness. “This is just the beginning of the use of CRISPR for somatic editing,” says Gaétan Burgio, a geneticist at Australian National University not associated with the trial. “We need sometime to assess the safety and efficiency of the CRISPR editing versus other available options.” 13 Photos CRISPRs are doing it for themselves Sci-Techlast_img read more

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Chokhani murder case Kishan Yadav acquitted of all charges

first_imgKolkata: The Alipore Court on Friday acquitted domestic help Kishan Yadav in connection with the murder of 54-year-old Usha Chokhani on March 16, 2008. The elderly lady, who used to live alone in her apartment at Mandevilla Gardens under Gariahat police station area, was found murdered with a pair of scissors piercing her throat and a deep wound on her neck.”After nine years of prolonged custody trial, 17th Additional District and Session Judge Subhasish Ghosal of Alipore Judges Court acquitted Yadav of all charges as police could not produce enough evidence to prove hi involvement in the crime,” Subhamoy Samaddar, the counsel for Yadav said. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThere were as many as 31 witnesses who had deposed before the court during the trial. The anti homicide squad of the detective department of Kolkata Police had arrested Yadav in January 2009 nearly a year after the murder of the victim from Bengaluru. He had been in judicial custody since March 2009 and was not granted bail even for once.The sleuths pleaded before the court that Chokhani’s murder was ‘for gain’, however, the only thing that went missing from the apartment was a piece of gold earring. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedA watch, a ring and an earring were found intact on Usha’s body when police recovered it from the drawing room of her third-floored apartment. Sammadar, counsel for the accused pleaded before the court that the elderly lady’s was killed due to family dispute. “She lived alone while her two sons, Bharat and Nikhil, lived with their father Atmaram Chokhani in Ballygunge Place. The lady was looked after by a number of domestic helps. Moreover, nothing went missing from the house. The earring that was primarily found missing was also recovered from the apartment itself during the course of investigation. There were as many as 26 injury marks on the body that makes it clear that it was an act of vengeance and not for gain,” he reasoned. Her daughter Ruchi Sabetia lives in Delhi. It may be mentioned that the victim lady had hired Kishan, a resident of Banka in Bihar, only 10 days before the murder on the recommendation of an employee of a neighbourhood tea stall.last_img read more

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Trafalgar announces new Sales Manager – Manitoba and Saskatchewan

first_imgTags: CostSaver, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Sherridan Harris, Trafalgar Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Trafalgar announces new Sales Manager – Manitoba and Saskatchewan Posted bycenter_img TORONTO — Trafalgar has welcomed aboard a new Sales Manager for Manitoba and Saskatchewan.Sherridan Harris, who brings with her over 20 years experience in sales and business development and six years in the travel industry, will be responsible for executing sales plans and developing strong relationships with agency partners in both provinces.“As a travel sales professional and a passionate traveller, a position with respected brands such as Trafalgar and CostSaver is truly a dream role,” said Harris.Anita Emilio, vice president of sales, Trafalgar Canada, is “thrilled” to have Harris join the “Trafalgar tribe”.“With her extensive background in business development in leisure and corporate travel as well as the hotel industry and life-long citizen of the prairies, we know she truly understands the area and the needs of the local travel agents,” said Emilio.Harris can be reached at Sherridan.Harris@TrafalgarTours.com or via telephone at 1-800-834-5677 ext. 8497606. Travelweek Group Tuesday, June 12, 2018 last_img read more

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