Tag: Hopes

Delta announces quarantine-free flights to Rome, raising hopes for more travel corridors

It would be the first such quarantine-free travel corridor between the United States and Europe, and industry advocates hope that it could become a role model for how air travel can resume safely after a year that has forced many airlines into bankruptcy or mass layoffs.

Transatlantic flights are considered some of the most lucrative routes, and their resumption would offer airlines some relief, even though air travel may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 or 2025 according to some estimates.

“Carefully designed covid-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” Delta executive Steve Sear said in a news release.

Whereas the idea of travel corridors was pondered within weeks of the pandemic grounding planes around the world, arrangements have in practice mostly been limited to nations with similarly low infection rates such as Australia and New Zealand. This appears to slowly be changing, as some of the more recently established travel corridors have for the first time included regions with surging case numbers, signaling a growing willingness among airlines and some governments to experiment with pre- and post-flight testing as a universal solution.

The experimental Atlanta-Rome corridor is expected to launch Dec. 19, after Italian authorities have provided the legal framework for it, and European or American travelers heading to Rome would need to test negative for the novel coronavirus several times to be exempt from the otherwise mandatory 14 days of quarantine in Italy.

Passengers set to embark on the new route will need to take a PCR test up to 72 hours before the flight, followed by rapid tests in Atlanta and at the destination in Rome, according to Delta. Rapid tests provide results within minutes but are not as accurate as PCR tests.

No start date or exact procedure was provided for the connections between New York and Rome.

For now, the corridor won’t allow Americans to travel to the European Union for tourism purposes, since a travel ban remains in place in both directions. So far, most Americans can only enter the European Union for reasons deemed essential such as some types of work or studies. But Reuters reported Wednesday that the Trump administration may be considering to lift its own travel ban on most Europeans — a move that, if confirmed, could encourage the E.U. to eventually relax its entry restrictions, too.

“Quarantines don’t work, they are inefficient and hard to police,” said the chief executive of Rome’s airport network, Marco Troncone, according to the Financial Times. “It’s hard to convey this message to governments and policymakers, but I think we’re close to a breakthrough.”

Rome’s airport network said in a news release on Thursday that additional travel corridors could connect Rome to several German airports.

Some governments have been more open to the airline industry’s insistence on replacing quarantines with coronavirus tests than others.

The Canary Islands — an autonomous Spanish region to the west of Africa — has

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Mobikwik: MobiKwik co-founder shares 2021 vacation plans, hopes to visit Brazil again with her husband

Upasana Taku, co-founder, MobiKwik, is pursuing her hobbies and already planning her vacation for 2021.Wanderlust“As a family, we are looking forward to taking a vacation in 2021 to enjoy mother nature and experience new cultures and food. Within the country, I am keen to explore Shillong. It was on my list in 2019 but it didn’t work out. I visited Kashmir in 2014, so I am excited to travel there again with my family. My kid has never been there

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Hong Kong-Singapore Bubble Delay Hits Travel Rebound Hopes

(Bloomberg) — The shelving of the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble shows just how delicate the process of reopening borders is — even for places that have largely contained the coronavirus.

The cities’ virus outbreaks are far less intense than in places such as the U.S. and Europe, but a recent uptick in cases in Hong Kong proved enough to delay the start of the air corridor between the two financial hubs by two weeks, dashing the plans of those who booked flights that were due to begin Sunday.

The bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was heralded as a pandemic world-first, allowing people to travel to and from the two places without the need for quarantine. Authorities are reviewing a new launch date.

Ong Ye Kung standing in front of a crowd: Key Speakers at The Singapore FinTech Festival

© Bloomberg
Key Speakers at The Singapore FinTech Festival

Ong Ye Kung

Photographer: Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg

“This is a sober reminder that the Covid-19 virus is still with us, and even as we fight to regain our normal lives, the journey will be full of ups and downs,” Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said Saturday.

The two sides agreed that the bubble would be suspended if local infections exceeded five on a rolling seven-day average. That wasn’t even met in Hong Kong before the decision, but the recent jump in infections there was enough for authorities to apply the brakes, handing another setback to the aviation and travel industries of the two cities, which had some of the region’s busiest airports before the pandemic.

chart: Shares of Cathay and Singapore Air staged a recovery in November with bubble plan

© Bloomberg
Shares of Cathay and Singapore Air staged a recovery in November with bubble plan

Strict border curbs have helped Asia contain the coronavirus better than other parts of the world, with countries from China to New Zealand limiting the entry of travelers and imposing mandatory quarantines as a way of stopping the virus at their doors. But the approach — which has seen some all but eliminate Covid-19 — has come at a heavy cost, decimating tourism with cross-border travel basically paralyzed.


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While in-country containment of the virus has resulted in the world’s 10 busiest domestic air travel routes now all being in Asia, according to OAG Aviation Worldwide Ltd., Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Singapore Airlines Ltd. continue to struggle as they have no domestic travel market to fall back on. Cathay’s shares slid as much as 6.6% on Monday and Singapore Airlines dropped 1.7%

Even if the Hong Kong-Singapore corridor opens, the boost to the two aviation hubs will be limited, said Rico Merkert, professor of transport at the University of Sydney’s business school. Singapore Airlines and Cathay will continue to struggle because they can’t funnel onto the route those travelers who would normally arrive from Europe and the U.S., he said.

“Without that feeder traffic, those bubbles will at best be limited to the local population,” Merkert said. “International travel is going to remain a tricky affair.”

Cathay had described the bubble as “a hugely encouraging development and an important first step in

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Siberian ski resort hopes to attract locals cut off from the Alps by travel restrictions

By Mikhail Zakharov

SHEREGESH, Russia (Reuters) – A Siberian ski resort is aiming to replace the Alps as Russians’ preferred winter holiday destination this season as travel to many countries remains forbidden because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sheregesh ski resort, located in the Kemerovo region some 3,225 kilometres (2,004 miles) east of Moscow, kicked off its season last week, with officials making face masks mandatory on all ski lifts.

Many ski resorts in Europe have been forced to delay their season openings or close as the second wave of the pandemic has forced some countries to impose new restrictions and even lockdowns.

Russian authorities have said they would not order a nationwide lockdown as they did earlier in the pandemic, stressing the importance of hygiene and targeted restrictions in some regions instead.

Barred from travelling to most foreign destinations — with the exception of countries including Turkey, Britain and Tanzania — Russians are turning to domestic vacation spots like Sheregesh.

“Despite a large influx of tourists in the summer, we didn’t allow any coronavirus outbreaks to occur at our ski resorts,” said Anton Pyatovsky, minister of tourism of the Kemerovo region, which has reported more than 18,000 cases of COVID-19.

Apart from wearing masks on ski lifts, visitors will no longer be able to rent helmets and ski masks at the resort to prevent the infection from spreading, Pyatovsky added.

Actor Alexander Nosik, who attended the resort’s opening, said he saw the potential for Sheregesh to compete with more famous Alpine and North American ski resorts.

“I hope that one, two, three years will pass… and Sheregesh will become a strong rival to the Alps, North America and everywhere else. It has everything to achieve this,” he said.

Siberia’s Sheregesh will compete with other domestic ski resorts like Sochi, which is easier to access for visitors from Moscow and St. Petersburg, and warmer.

With nearly 2 million infections since the start of the pandemic, Russia has the world’s fifth largest number of cases behind the United States, India, Brazil and France.

(Additional reporting by Dmitry Turlyun; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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Travel stocks rally after Moderna’s vaccine progress lifts hopes for near-term reopening

United Express ERJ145 ExpressJet

Airline, hotel, and cruise stocks surged in early Monday trading as Moderna’s encouraging vaccine trial results spurred fresh optimism for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

The biotech company announced Monday morning that its experimental coronavirus vaccine was 94.5% effective at preventing COVID-19 in a preliminary analysis. The update comes one week after Pfizer and BioNTech revealed similarly positive results from early trials of their own vaccine. While both candidates still need to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, their supposed effectiveness suggests a nationwide rollout could come in 2021. 

The news boosted shares of companies hit hardest by the virus and stay-at-home restrictions. United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta jumped more than 5% shortly after the vaccine news.

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 20 deeply underpriced stocks now before the recovery helps them rebound and crush Wall Street’s low expectations in 2021

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings gained more than 7%.

Hotels also rallied on the news. Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, and Marriott International all posted gained exceeding 5% in early trading.

The moves mimic the dislocations seen after previous encouraging vaccine updates. Stocks that would benefit the most from a full economic recovery bounce higher, while those that thrived through the pandemic slide. Monday was no different, as stay-at-home stocks such as Zoom, Netflix, and Peloton all traded lower.

Both Moderna and Pfizer aim to apply for emergency use authorization later this month. Approval would allow the companies to quickly begin distributing their vaccines to the most vulnerable populations. Even if both candidates are approved by regulators, vaccine supply is set to be very limited.

Read more: Peter Lynch disciple William Danoff manages over $124 billion and has beaten the market for 30 years. He shares the 10 investment rules that ensured his success.

Still, new hopes for a near-term breakthrough lifted the broader stock market. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 rose more than 1% on the news. Nasdaq 100 futures erased early gains posted minor losses as major tech names fell.

Oil futures extended gains as traders hoped for a vaccine to revive travel-based consumption. West Texas Intermediate crude contracts gained as much as 4.7%, to $42.02 per barrel.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

JPMorgan’s quant chief shares 5 trade recommendations following Pfizer’s vaccine ‘game-changer’

US consumer sentiment falls for the first time in 4 months as spiking COVID-19 cases spur worry

The manager of Rathbones’ $2.4 billion Ethical Bond Fund is beating her benchmark – and 95% of her peers. Here’s how she makes green investing work.

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Germany Damps Christmas Hopes; U.K. Travel Changes: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — German Health Minister Jens Spahn doused optimism for a significant easing of virus restrictions by Christmas as the number of new cases in the country remains stubbornly high. The U.K. plans to announce changes to its 14-day quarantine rules for travelers.

Japan may introduce more stringent virus restrictions after suffering record infections on Thursday. South Korea reported 191 new cases over the past 24 hours, the biggest gain in 10 weeks, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

California passed 1 million infections as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said almost no part of the country is being spared in the surge. Still, the fatality rate for infected people in the U.S. has declined 30% since April due to improved treatment, according to a study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation. Total U.S. deaths will nevertheless reach 439,000 by March, topping 2,200 a day in mid-January, the researchers said.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 52.8 million; deaths surpass 1.29 millionTesla’s Musk Says He May Have Covid-19, Calls Tests ‘Bogus’Japan Has Worst Day of Covid Cases Yet Amid Fears of Winter WaveChina comes under pressure to reveal Covid-19 vaccine dataWhite House is leaving stimulus to Congress with Biden entering fraySaving Christmas From Covid Is a Critical Mission for BritainPodcast: What to expect from the virus and the vaccine raceVaccine Tracker: Encouraging breakthroughs offer hope

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

chart: Second Waves

© Bloomberg
Second Waves

German Cases Dent Hopes for December Easing of Restrictions (4 p.m. HK)

German Health Minister Jens Spahn cooled optimism about a potential easing of restrictions next month, saying that infection numbers haven’t come down enough. He also said that the government had never promised that life would be back to normal in December. The country registered a near-record 24,738 new cases through Friday morning. On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 state premiers will review current measures, which include a ban on non-essential travel and the closure of bars and restaurants.

The on-going partial shutdown will lead to about 20 billion euros ($24 billion) in lower revenue this month for affected industries, according to Marcel Fratzscher, president of research institute DIW.

“The big concern is that companies have been cutting back on investment and consumers are actually saving more,” despite the government’s stimulus efforts, Fratzscher said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

U.K. to Announce New Travel Quarantine Measures ‘Very Soon’ (3:46 p.m HK)

The U.K. will unveil changes to 14-day travel quarantine measures “very soon,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News. The government is “actively working” on reducing quarantine and self-isolation periods for international travelers, he said.

Separately, the U.K. removed most of Greece from its list of travel corridors following a significant increase in coronavirus cases. The U.A.E., Iceland and Chile were among countries added to travel corridors, while

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Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble sparks surge in bookings, hopes for broader re-opening

By Jamie Freed

a view of a city street: Spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Changi Airport in Singapore

© Reuters/EDGAR SU
Spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Changi Airport in Singapore

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The opening of Asia’s first “travel bubble” allowing tourism without quarantines since the pandemic hit has sparked a surge in searches and bookings for travel between Singapore and Hong Kong, stirring hopes the model could be rolled out more broadly.


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Some of the first flights between the two cities starting Nov. 22 on Singapore Airlines Ltd and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd have already sold out, amid a quota of 200 daily travellers that will rise to 400 on Dec. 7. In the three hours after details were released on Wednesday, flight searches for Hong Kong to Singapore grew by 300%, followed by a 200% increase in Singapore hotel searches, according to Trip.com Group Ltd data.

“I think in the short term, people who want to travel are, like, shaking in their pants right now to sign up to travel,” said Jameson Wong, APAC director of travel data firm ForwardKeys. “Christmas has been popular (for bookings), as offices will be closed.”

Airfares between the cities have risen by about HK$1,000 ($128.96), or 35%, since the travel bubble was announced last month, Daiwa analyst Kelvin Lau said in a note to clients.

One way Singapore-Hong Kong tickets range from S$618 ($458) to S$1,028 on Singapore Airlines in December, according to a check of its website on Thursday.

Video: Alibaba sees record Singles Day transactions as China recovers from the coronavirus (CNBC)

Alibaba sees record Singles Day transactions as China recovers from the coronavirus



Travellers will need to take and pay for two to three COVID-19 tests depending on the duration of their stay, in an agreement that Lau said could be a model for a broader re-opening of travel within Asia.

International passenger traffic fell by 96.4% in September compared with last year at airlines in the region, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines. Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have been among the hardest hit because they lack domestic aviation markets, and both carriers have cut thousands of jobs.

International Air Transport Association Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific Conrad Clifford said the bubble, although small, was a step in the right direction to reboot international travel.

“We look forward to seeing Hong Kong and Singapore expand this arrangement with other destinations, and for other governments to adopt a similar approach,” he said in a statement.

($1 = 7.7541 Hong Kong dollars)

($1 = 1.3488 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting by Jamie Freed. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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Vaccine hopes spur major rally in oil and travel stocks

Grounded fleet of Aegean Airlines AEE, the flag carrier of Greece, as seen parked in the apron of Athens ATH LGAV International airport in the Greek Capital on July 7, 2020. A3 operates an all-Airbus fleet with A319, A320 mainly, A321 and new arrivals of modern and advanced Airbus A320NEO. The airplanes are parked with the engines covered as the airline temporarily ceased most of the operations due to the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic reduced traffic and travel restriction that the government imposed. Greece is restarting the summer season for tourism, one of the main income sources for the country with tighter safety measures, easing the lockdown measures and COVID Virus checks at the entry points in the country such as the airports. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The airline industry’s fate looked uncertain following months of COVID-19 groundings. Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Travel and oil stocks are leading FTSE (^FTSE) gains on Tuesday as markets continue to rejoice over news of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The moves come after early findings show that a vaccine developed by Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech SE is 90% effective in protecting people from transmission of the virus in global trials.

“Vaccine means ‘back to normal’ – it’s all about the velocity of people getting back to 2019 levels sooner which means more demand for travel, more demand for oil products (gasoline, jet fuel),” said Neil Wilson, chief markets analyst at Markets.com.

Rolls Royce (RR.L) was among the most dramatic gainers on the London index, up around 19.5% at around 11:30am in the UK. IAG was also up 9.1%.

Rolls Royce's gains remained steady on Tuesday as global markets rallied.
Rolls Royce’s gains remained steady on Tuesday as global markets rallied.

“You have also got to remember just how badly beaten down these sectors were and how they are very cheap relative to the market and relative to growth, so we are seeing a major rotation back into value stocks. In some cases too there are short squeezes going on with lots of hedgies caught the wrong side of this news,” Wilson added.

READ MORE: European markets find calm after frantic rally on COVID-19 vaccine news

In September, International Airlines Group (IAG.L) announced more cuts to flights as it adjusted to the collapse in demand for air travel. It dropped its capacity by 60% below of its 2019 levels, adding that it didn’t see a return to 2019 levels until 2023. It was also aiming to cut up to 13,000 jobs amid a bitter dispute with its union Unite over redundancies and pay cuts for cabin crews.

According to a recent Morgan Stanley note, Lufthansa (LHA.DE), IAG, and EasyJet (EZJ.L) still face a strong cash burn rate and will be close to their minimum cash levels by 2Q20, which suggests they may need to access more liquidity resources by 2021.

“With the elastic band stretched so far to the downside it makes sense that these stocks (also heavily shorted) will be big winners on the way up,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.

“Of course there’s a long way to go, but the change in sentiment should spark a more extended move to the upside as investors keep piling in in the hope of picking up some bargains, just as holidaymakers try to get some winter sun bargains for 2021. Oil [is] a similar story, hope of a return to stronger demand earlier than expected, which would help support cash flow and reduce the risk of further dividend cuts.”

The oil rally mirrored the wider stock market rally, underscoring gains for BP (BP), which was up 7.6% at around 11:50 am in London, and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB.L) which was up 4.4%.

Both firms have been hard hit by COVID-19, with Shell planning to cut up

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Honor Flight hopes coronavirus fight lets vets travel in 2021

Southeast Florida Honor Flight has a waiting list of more than 500 people. The coronavirus forced it to ground all four of its flights in 2020.

Eliot Kleinberg
| Palm Beach Post

The Honor Flight organization that serves Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast desperately wants to get veterans to Washington next spring, but the decision is out of its hands.

The coronavirus epidemic shut down all four of its 2020 flights from Palm Beach International Airport, with a waiting list that tops 500, the agency said.

The next scheduled Honor Flights are April 10 and May 15, 2021.

More: Veterans Day: Boynton Beach man saw ‘stirring’ flag raising on Iwo Jima while serving in WWII

“We’re so revved up to fly again,” spokeswoman Kathy Sreenan said – but, she said, only if the pandemic has reached an all-clear stage.

“Obviously, we have the highest-risk population,” she said. “So we really need to make sure that it’s safe for them to fly and participate. Their health and safety comes first.”

Stuart-based Southeast Florida Honor Flight is one of nine Florida operations and 133 nationwide. Since 2008, it has taken more than 3,000 veterans from Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Indian River counties to Washington free of charge.

The organization gives first dibs to World War II veterans, all of whom would be well into their 90s.

“That’s why we feel so badly about 2020,” Sreenan said. “We know that there will be some that will never get to take their Honor Flight. We’re just hoping they can hang on for 2021, and we’ll be able to take all those that could not go in 2020.”

Sreenan said the two spring 2020 flights had been moved to the fall, and when those were canceled as well, participants were moved to the spring of 2021, backing up the wait list even longer.

More: Dead veteran’s family a mystery to West Palm Beach police as they seek his next of kin

Not wanting veterans to be left out altogether, on Oct. 24, the group threw a parade for those who’d planned to take the flights. It was at the Boynton Beach Mall. A parade took place the same day in Port St. Lucie.

A planned flyover in Boynton Beach had to be canceled because President Donald J. Trump was in town to vote, sparking federal flight restrictions, Sreenan said. But she said the event still was “fantastic,” adding that “the veterans were so appreciative.”

To apply to volunteer as an Honor Flight escort, or to donate, email [email protected] or call 1-855-FLYAVET (855-359-2838).

[email protected]


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Australia shares rise as vaccine hopes lift energy, travel stocks

By Deepali Saxena

graphical user interface: FILE PHOTO: A board displaying stock prices is seen at the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney

© Reuters/DAVID GRAY
FILE PHOTO: A board displaying stock prices is seen at the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney

(Reuters) – Australian shares closed higher for a fourth straight session on Tuesday as progress in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine raised hopes of a swifter recovery in the global economy and bolstered hard-hit travel, tourism and energy stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index <.axjo>, however, ended 0.7% higher after jumping 2.2% to a more than eight-month high in early session as a slump in overnight bullion prices weighed on gold stocks <.axgd>.

Risk appetite got a boost globally after U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech said a large-scale trial of their vaccine showed it was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19.

“Investors appeared to have switched out from big tech into the long-underperformed traditional industries last night, kicking off a new chapter of sectoral rotation,” Margaret Yang, a strategist with news and research website DailyFX, wrote in a note.

“How to strike a balance between an escalating pandemic wave against vaccine hopes will likely be a main theme for trading till year end.”

Video: RBA says 0.1% cash rate to stay for three years (ABC NEWS)

RBA says 0.1% cash rate to stay for three years



Tourism and travel-related stocks such as Flight Centre Travel Group , Sydney Airport Holdings and Qantas Airways rose more than 8% each on the news.

Energy stocks <.axej>, which have been among the worst hit by the pandemic due to a plunge in fuel demand, surged as much as 8.9% to record their best session since early April.

Nearly all stocks on the sub-index were higher, with Oil Search and Beach Energy climbing more than 14% each.

Heavyweight financial stocks <.axfj> rose to their highest levels since June 10, with the “Big Four” banks adding between 3% and 7.6%.

National Australia Bank ended 7.6% higher, overtaking Sydney-based rival Westpac Banking Corp as the country’s second-largest lender based on market value.

However, tech <.axij> and consumer <.axsj> stocks, which have so far benefited from an online shopping boom and panic buying triggered by the pandemic, dropped more than 3%.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index <.nz50> hit a record high before closing marginally higher at 12,612.39.

Investor attention will turn to country’s central bank meeting on Wednesday, where it is expected to unveil a new monetary policy tool to drive borrowing costs for lenders lower and maintain the official rate at 0.25%.

(Reporting by Deepali Saxena; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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