Maldives launches tourism vaccination drive | News


Visit Maldives has launched a new campaign, under the heading ‘I’m Vaccinated’.

The project aims to share a positive message regarding the vaccination of staff working in the tourism sector, as well as promote the initiatives undertaken to ensure the Maldives remains one of the safest destinations for travellers.

The goal of this campaign is to ensure the Maldives is the first fully vaccinated tourism sector in the world.

Along with the unique geographical formation of the islands which offer natural physical distancing, as well as the stringent health and safety measures in place, a fully vaccinated tourism sector will be an added advantage in encouraging tourists to visit the destination.

The campaign was launched during a press event organised by Visit Maldives and the Maldives Ministry of Tourism.

Joining the event were the Maldives minister of tourism, the minister of health, the secretary general of Guesthouse Association of Maldives and the vice chairman of Maldives Association of Tourism Industry.

The event commenced with opening remarks by the Maldives minister of tourism, Abdulla Mausoom, who remarked on the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry.

He emphasised the immense sacrifice, effort and hard work of the health industry, tourism industry, and all members of the Maldivian society.

A microsite will display a counter showing the number of tourism industry staff who have been vaccinated and will provide employees with information about how to register for their vaccination, as well as the latest HPA guidelines.

The campaign aims to reassure travellers that the Maldives continues to be one of the safest destinations to travel to in the current climate and will highlight to visitors the immense effort and investment the destination has taken in ensuring the safety of both the local population and travellers.

The Maldives’ vaccination programme began in February and the government aims to provide free Covid-19 vaccinations to all residents of the Maldives in the upcoming months.





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What Type of Camping Is Right for You?


Adventure

From backpacking to glamping, we break down five types of camping you can enjoy in Colorado this summer.

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Ask a hardcore backpacker what type of person might enjoy sleeping on the ground and they’ll likely say, “Anyone!” The answer would probably be the same when asking a dedicated RVer about spending the night in a tricked-out van.

There may be some truth to that idea. Even the person who hates catching some shuteye in the dirt could conceivably have a good time backpacking. And someone who gets a thrill out of waking up in an isolated mountain meadow might enjoy themselves in an RV park.

But if we are being honest, each of us are predisposed to some kinds of camping more than others. To help you determine your personal preference, we asked experts to break down five types of camping common along the Front Range.

Important to know: Keep an eye on campsite opening dates, book ahead of time whenever possible, and always respect the signage (especially regarding where you can and can’t camp).

Backpacking

Who is it for? For those who really want to get away from it all.

What it is? A cross between hiking and backcountry camping, where you carry everything you need in (yeah, you already guessed it) a backpack.

What should you expect? While there are many ways to get away from technology, the beauty of backpacking is that it also allows you to escape the constant thrum of humanity, says Garett Mariano, marketing director for backcountry gear manufacturer Big Agnes, which is based in Steamboat Springs: “You typically have a set destination to get to, like a lake, a summit, or a valley with a view. It [provides] the opportunity to turn off our phones, take a huge breath in, and soak up the natural surroundings.”

That’s not to say backpacking always involves heading deep into the wilderness. You might just head a mile into an idyllic backcountry campsite. And that counts! The process of setting up camp (beyond just getting out for a day hike) helps adventurers relax, slow down, and, if you bring some buddies along, connect with friends.

Insider tip: “Test your gear before you go,” Mariano says. “Set it up in the backyard to make sure you have everything you need and that it all works right. Oh, and don’t forget a puffy jacket. Evenings, mornings, and summits can be cold even in July and August.”

Campsite suggestion: A little over three miles in from the Huron Peak trailhead (between Buena Vista and Leadville), Lake Ann is a pristine, high alpine body of water with views of Huron Peak and the Three Apostles. Look for dispersed camping sites around the lake.

Car Camping

Who is it for? For those who want to sleep in the dirt, but also appreciate having a few amenities on hand.

What it is? Camping in a spot that allows you to drive your car up next to the area where you stake your tent and make camp.

What should you expect? With car camping, you’re still sleeping outside, but since you don’t have to haul everything on your back, you don’t have to be as discerning when it comes to packing. That 20-pound cast iron skillet? Bring it. A case of craft beer? Sure. Tent that can be mistaken for the Taj Mahal? Why not? “You could have more of the extras like the speakers, better food, more games, and more blankets,” says Torie Palffy, marketing manager for Boulder-based outdoor brand Kelty. “You get a taste of the backpacking experience, but you’re not compromising as much on comfort.”

Palffy also points out that car camping sites are often large, allowing for bigger groups to gather, share food and drink, and swap stories across the campfire. Sites also tend to be located near prime outdoor adventure destinations, so you’ll wake up within walking distance from the trail, lake, or bouldering problem you’ve been planning to conquer.

Insider Tip: “People often overlook having shelters and gathering spaces in case weather rolls in,” Palffy says. “When everyone has to go sit in their cars or tents, it’s not nearly as fun as if you have a tarp or awning set up.”

Campsite suggestion: Located at the base of the mighty Mt. Evans, Echo Lake Campground is a great starting point for tackling the fourteener or for just taking in the views.

Bikepacking

Who is it for? For those who abhor the thought of leaving their bike at home.

What it is? Basically backpacking, except you ride rather than hike the trail. You also carry all your overnight gear on a bike (often a mountain bike) rather than in a pack.

What should you expect? Bikepacking is all about hitting the backcountry and enjoying an evening under the stars with your favorite two-wheeled toy. “There’s usually a destination and a starting point, and you just ride your bike from one to the other,” says Justin Simoni, who has a guidebook on how to bikepack to all the Colorado fourteeners that debuts this summer. And because you’re a bi-pedaler, not just a biped, “you get to travel through a large swath of area quickly,” he says.

Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need some specialized bikepacking bags to hold your gear and supplies. Most of these bags are made with durable fabric designed to lash directly onto the bike frame. Avoid racks and panniers, which are more likely to snag on bushes or get knocked off by a tree. Simoni adds that his “personal opinion is the lighter you can pack, the more fun it is because your bike is going to be more lively and will work better.” His own sleep system (bag, pad, and bivy) weighs in at less than four pounds.

Insider Tip: “For your first bikepacking trip, you don’t have to go across the country,” Simoni says. “Plan something easy and simple so you’ll have fun and will want to do it again. The next time it can be something a little more substantial.”

Campsite suggestion: Start at the mouth of the Colorado Trail at Waterton Canyon in Littleton, slowly gain elevation as the singletrack winds about 40 miles into the mountains, and set up camp at the popular Buffalo Creek Campground in Pine. Keep rolling on the Colorado Trail the next day or meet up with buddies to snag a ride home.

RVing

Who is it for? For those who want the ability to shut out the elements.

What it is? Parking your recreational vehicle (RV), usually in a designated campsite, and sleeping in the vehicle’s living quarters.

What should you expect? Though RVs range from small pop-up campers with a basic kitchenette and primitive sleeping quarters to luxurious motorhomes with multiple rooms and full bathrooms, nearly all come with basic amenities like a furnace and refrigerator, as well as a true bed. Jessica Black, owner of Colorado Camper Rental, notes that RVs provide a camping experience where users are “just close enough to nature, but you still have some of the creature comforts.” She adds that they’re also ideal for those who want an extra layer of security, whether you’re keen to lock your belongings in or if you want to ensure nature stays out.

When road trips replaced air travel last summer as the COVID-19-friendliest vacation option, RVs stole the spotlight. “They’re a hotel room on wheels,” Black says. “You can go anywhere with it.” She encourages people to take advantage of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas that offer no-cost, reservation-free campsites.

Insider Tip: “Most people aren’t comfortable backing up with a trailer because the camper goes the opposite direction you’d think it would,” Black says. She recommends either taking time to hone your skills before your trip or maybe just avoiding the hassle entirely and opting for a campsite that allows you to pull your rig through rather than having to back up into it.

Campsite suggestion: Moraine Park Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park positions you perfectly for a hardcore hike the next day or a casual waltz around Bear Lake.

Glamping

Who is it for? For those who want to sleep in a tent, but on a full-size bed.

What it is? Glamorous camping, complete with fabric tent and full electricity.

What should you expect? Glamping is all about having your cake and eating it too, explains Ben Sack, general manager of Cañon City–based Royal Gorge Cabins, which has eight luxury glamping tents on site. “It’s for those who love the idea of getting outside, experiencing nature, sitting around a campfire, and enjoying the stars, but they want a few more comforts,” Sack says. “These campers also want a comfortable bed, wifi, electricity, and screened windows to keep the bugs out.”

Another key upside to glamping is the ability to leave those linens and sleeping bags at home given that these campsites include a bed, and often some end tables and a desk too. (Antler chandeliers optional.) And though you have the niceties of modern life at your fingertips, you can still sit around the campfire before bed and hear the crickets chirping through the tent walls as you fall asleep. “Glamping is as easy as staying at a hotel,” Sack says, “but it still feels like you’re immersed in nature.”

Insider Tip: Many glamping sites have options to cook on your own. “Bring a cooler of your favorite food and try cooking over the fire, just to shake it up and get the full experience,” Sack says.

Campsite suggestion: Royal Gorge Cabins located in Cañon City offers single-queen and double-queen glamping tents.



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Stephen Curry gets away with travel for sweet scoop shot


Good gracious. With how good footwork has gotten all across the NBA, travel calls have been getting looser and looser. Between ball-handlers like Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry, the addition of the gather or “zero” step is just patently unfair. For example, check out this incredible little scoop shot that the Golden State Warriors star pulled off against the Denver Nuggets:

In earlier eras, this would be a travel. Then again, so would James Harden’s patented step-back threes. But for now, let’s not argue about that, because we need to focus on the absolute disrespect that Steph put on this shot. Any normal player would have gathered up for a normal tear drop and have a guaranteed two points. Not Steph. The Warriors star just had to flex his incredible touch by floating a shot to DOGE coin altitude, underhanded no less. This is, of course, coming off the heels of one of his patented double team splits around the back.

If you can be certain about one thing in this era of the NBA, it’s this: .500 team or no, the reason why Stephen Curry is so entertaining is because if he can find a way to win while embarrassing you, he will. It’s the perfect subtly devilish attitude that would have made him a headliner in any era–the willingness and finesse to reliably flex his obscene level of skill every night he’s on the court.

Here’s a video of the Warriors star’s epic move, this time from a better angle:

So back to the point: is this a travel in this day and age, or no? Would it have been called in an earlier era? And who in the world thought it was a good idea to stick Austin Rivers on Stephen Curry? Sound off your answers.

Kyrie Irving Ramadan Nets Muslim





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Travel news: Eight countries now classified as green list travel destinations | UK | News


Holidaymakers could be allowed to travel to international locations as soon as May 17 under the Government’s plans for the easing of lockdown. However, based on the traffic light system that indicates which countries are safer to travel to, Britons can currently only chose from eight countries if they wish to enjoy quarantine-free holidays.

New modelling conducted by Robert Boyle, former strategy chief at BA and its owner IAG, listed USA, Gibraltar, Israel, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, and Australia and New Zealand as green list nations.

The Government is set to review the system on June 28 and popular tourist destinations such as Spain and Greece – which currently remain on the amber list – could turn green if their coronavirus figures improve.

The study read: “Last year, the Spanish and Greek islands were given a lower-risk rating than the mainland and that could happen again this year.”

The report labelled Gibraltar as “the surest case for green,” adding that “ it has essentially zero cases of any type and the population is fully vaccinated.”

It added: “Israel must be the next most likely. Again, it has vaccinated close to its entire population and case numbers are below even last year’s threshold.”

There is currently speculation over whether India should be added to the red list after a new coronavirus variant was first identified there.

The UK has already detected 160 cases of the variant, which has a “double mutation” in the spike protein, E484Q and L452R.

The strain is currently dubbed a “variant under investigation” rather than a “variant of concern” by the UK health authorities.

Professor Beate Kampmann, director of the Vaccine Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, stressed that herd immunity may not work in a scenario where various strains of coronavirus are in circulation.





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Gary Sanchez has hand injury after being struck by foul tip


Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez was removed from Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rays before the bottom of the fifth inning, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com was among those to relay. Sánchez was struck in the right hand by a foul tip in the prior inning. While he stayed in the game to take his next plate appearance, Sánchez was replaced by Kyle Higashioka thereafter.

Sánchez has been diagnosed with a contusion on his index and middle fingers, but X-rays came back negative, via Hoch. He is currently listed as day-to-day, but if it does require him to miss time, Higashioka would figure to pick up the bulk of the playing time behind the dish. Those two are the only catchers on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, so another move would be forthcoming if Sánchez isn’t able to make an immediate return to action.

Rob Brantly and Robinson Chirinos are both in the organization on minor-league deals, but the latter remains on the mend from surgery to repair a wrist fracture last month. That seemingly suggests Brantly is next in line should additional catching depth be required in the Bronx.





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Travel news live: domestic holidays get the go-ahead


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It’s getaway day!

According to the government’s roadmap, domestic travel in “self-contained accommodation” is permitted from today, 12 April.

It means, after more than three months of lockdown, trips to Airbnbs, campsites and caravan parks and some holiday parks – including Center Parcs – are permitted for one household or social bubble only.

Follow live as The Independent’s travel desk heads off on domestic adventures…

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Everything you need to know about domestic travel

Here’s a handy digest of everything you need to know about what travel rules are changing today: what you can do, where you can go and with whom.

Cathy Adams12 April 2021 09:01

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Train stations gear up for a busy day

Commuter trains to London appear to be busier than they have done for months.

Overall passenger numbers on Britain’s railways have been at or below 25 per cent of pre-pandemic levels since the third lockdown began. By far the highest proportion of journeys are to and from London.

While final figures will not be in for 10 days, anecdotal evidence suggests stations are significantly busier than over the past two weeks; the “stay at home” rule in England was lifted on 29 March. 

As the Monday morning rush hour got under way, station staff said they were seeing many more passengers. Train operators have increased the number of trains running from 70 to 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Vauxhall station in southwest London gears up for a busy day

(Simon Calder)

Robert Nisbet, director of Nations and Regions for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Rail companies are pulling out all the stops so that people can travel with confidence as restrictions ease, with continued extra cleaning, more services, high levels of face mask wearing and ventilation that refreshes air in the carriage at least every 10 minutes.

“We are advising that people to travel at quieter times [and] leave longer for their journey.”

Simon Calder12 April 2021 08:24



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Heat vs. Trail Blazers – Game Recap – April 11, 2021


PORTLAND, Ore. — — Bam Adebayo scored 22 points and Jimmy Butler added 20 to lead the Miami Heat to a 107—98 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.

The Heat, who have won six of their last seven games, led by as many as 20 points early in the fourth quarter.

CJ McCollum and Norman Powell each finished with 17 points for the Blazers, who were hurt by 17 turnovers. Miami’s aggressive defense held Damian Lillard to just 12 points on an off night when he made just three shots from the field, all 3-pointers.

Adebayo said it was important to set a tone to start a four-game road trip.

“We were just trying to really hone in on defense. We just really felt with this team that’s how you win,” Adebayo said. “We were able to get stops and get into transition and get a few dunks. That’s why we won by a lot.”

The Heat were without Victor Oladipo indefinitely because of right knee soreness. Oladipo, acquired by the Heat on March 25 in a trade with Houston, was injured in the fourth quarter of Miami’s victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

Kendrick Nunn started in Oladipo’s place. Nunn, who didn’t play in six straight games after injuring his ankle early in a March 26 game against Charlotte, finished with 15 points.

“We know on the road we have to be able to defend at a high level,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Our defense has to travel. It’s a key to our success.”

The Blazers started Jusuf Nurkic, who sat out of Saturday night’s victory over the Detroit Pistons due to injury management of knee inflammation. In his place, Enes Kanter set a franchise record with 30 rebounds in the game, which the Blazers dominated 118-103.

Blazers coach Terry Stotts said he was hesitant to blame Portland’s lackluster performance on the back-to-back. The Heat hadn’t played since Thursday.

“To be honest, I thought we looked a step slow and they looked like a rested team,” he said. “I don’t say that very often.”

Nurkic, who was on a minutes restriction against the Heat, picked up two quick fouls and went to the bench with 7:02 left in the first quarter. With about 3:50 left in the opening half, Nurkic left the court, his hand on his lower back. But he returned to start the second half and said after the game that the X-rays were negative.

Derrick Jones Jr.’s 3-pointer put Portland up 29-19 early in the game but the Heat closed the gap in the second quarter and went into the break with a 56-48 lead. The Heat stretched their advantage to 65-50 early in the third quarter.

Portland got another scare in the third quarter when Kanter went down after knocking heads with another player. But he also returned.

TIP INS

Heat: It was the first of a four-game road trip. Tyler Herro was listed as questionable for the game because of right foot soreness, but played. KZ Okpala remained out because of health and safety protocols.

Trail Blazers: It was the second of two meetings with the Heat this season. Portland won the first 125-122 in Miami on March 25. … With a 3-pointer in the third quarter, Lillard passed Dirk Nowitzki on the NBA’s career made 3s list.

FRUSTRATION

Portland has lost four of its last six games. But the Blazers looked especially out of sorts against the Heat.

“I understand the frustration with the fans and everybody, but sometimes it’s frustrating for us too,” Nurkic said. “I know the coaches, no matter what they tell us, they can’t go out there and change it. I get that, everybody gets that, but at some point, something’s got to happen.”

UP NEXT

Heat: Visit the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

Trail Blazers: Host the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.



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Australia news live updates: Scott Morrison blames ‘supply problem’ for slow Covid vaccine rollout | Australia news





Former Australia Post chief executive, Christine Holgate, has lodged an explosive submission to the Senate inquiry into her sacking for the decision to award executives Cartier watches as bonuses.

“It is almost five months since the events of October 22nd, 2020, when, for no justified reason, I was humiliated in Parliament and then unlawfully stood down by the Australia Post Chair from a role I was passionately committed to,” the submission begins.

In the submission, Holgate doubles down on her claim she never voluntarily stood down and accuses Australia Post chairman, Lucio Di Bartolomeo, of unlawfully standing her down and alleged “he lied repeatedly to the Australian people and to their parliament about his actions”.

”Time after time he has made statements that I had agreed to stand down when I had done no such thing.”

Holgate said she offered to resign, but alleged Australia Post then leaked the letter to the media, before sending a counter-offer which is “itself confirmation that no agreement had been reached”.

Holgate said the gift of Cartier watches was “legal, within Australia Post’s policies, within my own signing authority limits, approved by the previous chairman, expensed appropriately, signed off by auditors and the CFO, [and] widely celebrated within the organisation”.

Holgate accused Di Bartolomeo of “seriously misleading” evidence to the Senate on 9 November, including about his knowledge of a BCG report into the incident.

Updated




Travel agents and hotel operators have welcomed details of the two way travel bubble with New Zealand, but have warned “there will be very little real benefit” for the sector in the short term.

This is because most of the initial travellers from 19 April are expected to be low-spending tourists visiting family and friends, as Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive, Margy Osmond, told the Guardian.

Accommodation Association of Australia has backed that prediction up, with its chief executive Dean Long reigniting calls for post-jobkeeper wage support for CBD hotels in Melbourne and Sydney that are still reeling from a drop off in international tourism and business travel.

The Association said Sydney is currently the worst performing city market in Australia with revenue declines of 67% and forward booking rates of less than 10% for the next 90 days and that Melbourne is similarly decimated.

Long said:


The opening of the trans-Tasman corridor is a very welcome step in the right direction but the reality is while it’s good news for the travel sector, given most travellers will be catching up with friends and families there’s very little immediate benefit for our tourism sector or our hotels and motels. With the end of jobkeeper and given the massive holes in the market especially in Australia’s international hubs of Sydney and Melbourne, the flow on benefits for our hotels and motels, and the many small businesses who supply them is negligible. There’s no doubt it will be a big kick along for consumer confidence but it doesn’t erase the need for tailored support for our accommodation sector. The reality is it’s great news for our travel sector but not so good for tourism.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents chair Tom Manwaring said many of his members were already seeing “increased interest in booking NZ albeit primarily to visit friends and family”.

Manwaring said:


It’s not a massive increase in business and our sector still desperately needs support but it is a much needed step in the right direction.” However, we urge both the Australian and the New Zealand governments to do all they can to ensure now the corridor is open that it stays open. This is important both in terms of consumer confidence in booking travel and from a workload perspective for travel agents who are still working hard on repatriating the outstanding $4bn still owed to Australians by airlines, hotels and tour operators on Covid-impacted travel and managing re-bookings and cancellations as a result of state restrictions.

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PNG man dies of Covid in Queensland hospital

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NJ Community Raises $2,000 for Server After Group Leaves No Tip, Angry Note Over Time Limit


As anyone who has gone to eat at a restaurant anytime since last summer knows, there are strict rules the establishments operate under. One such common rule is implementing a time limit for customers, which roughly puts a cap on how long customers can be seated at the table for.



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In New Jersey, one restaurant-goer was not too happy to be given such a limit, and expressed disapproval on the bill — which went viral, and has led to an outpouring of support for the restaurant staff.

Along with utilizing a QR code for the menu, the Glenbrook Brewery in Morristown states at each table that seating is limited to 90 minutes due to COVID capacity restrictions. Last Friday evening, a group of four sat down and at least one of them didn’t seem to appreciate being given such a limitation.

So the customers ate their food and paid their $86 bill, but not a cent more, neglecting to leave any sort of monetary tip. What was left, however, was an angry tip for the staff in the form of a note, reading in part, “Don’t kick paying customers out after 90 minutes.”

The staff was surprised to get such a reaction from customers regarding a fairly commonplace rule adopted across the service industry that is a direct result of COVID and capacity limits.

“It’s not like we’re trying to keep people from staying here, it’s just something that needs to happen in 50 percent capacity for a business to survive,” said Beth, who served the table.

The upsetting note — and perhaps more upsetting lack of appreciation for the service workers — was met with support from the Morristown community, however. After a fellow serve at another neighboring establishment posted a snapshot of the receipt, donations started pouring in. The restaurant had receive nearly $2,000 in support.

“The public support and outpouring, the kind comments, just the things people say bring me to tears,” said Beth. She is working server jobs while studying for her doctorate in nursing practice.

While the donations have come in to make up for her dismal treatment by the customers, she said that the money won’t just be going to her.

“The plan is to split with the other servers and donate the rest to the community,” she said.

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