Obama tells Singh that U.S. values its ties with India

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After talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the president says the nations have agreed to boost cooperation in areas including the economy, agriculture, technology, trade and security.
Reporting from Washington - President Obama reassured India's prime minister Tuesday that the partnership between their two countries would be "one of the defining relationships of the 21st century."Appearing with Manmohan Singh at the White House after two hours of talks, Obama said the United States and India have agreed to broaden cooperation in a variety of areas, including the economy, agriculture, technology, trade and counter-terrorism."The United States and India are natural allies," the president said at a news conference.Indian officials have worried recently that the Obama administration might be less committed than its predecessors to strengthening the U.S.-Indian relationship. Indians are anxious that their relationship is taking a back seat to growing U.S. ties with China and Pakistan. Obama returned last week from a trip to Asia that included a three-day stop in China.But the administration made a special effort to dispel those perceptions: Singh is the first foreign leader invited to the Obama White House for a state visit, which included a state dinner Tuesday night.The president emphasized that the U.S. is not looking solely to China for leadership in Asia."The United States welcomes and encourages India's leadership role in helping to shape the rise of a stable, peaceful and prosperous Asia," Obama said. He also accepted an invitation from Singh to visit India next year.Ashley J. Tellis, who was a senior South Asia aide in George W. Bush's administration, said Obama's statements held valuable symbolism. But the "real tests are yet to come," said Tellis, now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. It remains to be seen whether the United States will devote the time needed to build a strategic relationship, and whether the two countries can work out their differences on such issues as climate change and nuclear nonproliferation, he said.The Obama administration would like India to take aggressive steps to reduce carbon emissions, while India contends that the developed world should bear a larger share of that responsibility.India, which has nuclear programs, has also been reluctant to impose tough economic sanctions on Iran, with which it has strong economic ties. The United States and many other Western powers allege that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran says its nuclear development program is for civilian energy purposes. Obama and Singh may have been closer on concerns about Taliban militants in Afghanistan, a subject that the prime minister raised repeatedly this week at a series of public meetings in Washington, and which the two leaders discussed at the White House.Michael Hammer, a White House spokesman, said Singh and Obama "agreed that stabilizing Afghanistan and preventing a return of the Taliban to power are critically important."Hammer said that in their discussion of Iran, the two leaders "resolved to work together to make sure that all countries live up to their international obligations in the nuclear context."Teresita Schaffer, a former U.S. ambassador now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Indians don't want the U.S. to fail in Afghanistan because they believe it would mean "a much bigger footprint for militant Islam." More broadly, she said, "they've bet their international role on ties to a United States strong enough to deliver the goods."Read More....

'Rider pride travels well

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A Saskatoon couple's trip to Egypt earlier in the month included a stop at the Great Pyramid and a photo opportunity with a Saskatchewan Roughriders flag.
Jason and Kim Aebig are two football fans who decided to take the team flag with them on their trip.
"Before the underwear and the toothbrushes were in the suitcases, we had our 'Rider flag packed away and ready to go," Jason Aebig told CBC News on Friday.
As they set out to view the ancient pyramid site, the flag was tucked inside Kim's purse ready for their photo.
Aebig said they were somewhat nervous that unfurling the flag might not go over well with authorities at the pyramid site.
"We opened up the flag and we got lots of attention," Aebig explained. "We just told everyone around us that is was for a soccer team that was back home that we were really passionate about. And they seemed to buy that."
Aebig said taking the picture went smoothly and he almost expected someone to shout "Go Riders!" as the flag was in view.
"It was just a great opportunity to unfurl the flag and show our pride," he said. "We got lots of smiles and lots of good feedback."
Aebig said his family has been following the team's fortunes for a long time.
"We've had season tickets for as long as I can remember," Aebig said. "It's more than just being a fan, its part of you."
"There is nothing more exciting than being at Taylor Field on game day," he added. "You're with 30,000 of your closest buddies. We just love it."
Aebig suggested other fans could also travel with a flag, and a world-wide gallery of 'Rider pictures may ensue.
"It's very light. It's a $19 flag," Aebig said. "Pack that first and where ever you go, unfurl that flag. That's as much a Saskatchewan flag as our provincial one."
The entire province is buzzing with talk about the football team, in anticipation of the western conference final game Sunday afternoon in Regina against the Calgary Stampeders.
The winner goes on to play for the Grey Cup.

Top travel gifts for the holidays

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For the traveler on your list, electronics are a good bet

What makes a good holiday gift for a traveler?
If you have big bucks, splurge on an e-reader or a netbook.
But if you're on a budget, go for clever stocking-stuffers, like a laminated cardboard wine wheel to help wine-challenged foodies instantly determine good pairings, $8.85 from Magellan's, or a funky $17 passport wallet from Flight 001. One of the passport-holders, designed by the Anne Taintor vintage humor company, bears the words "I love not camping" along with a picture of a 1940s-style blonde with bright red lipstick, in front of a skyscraper and a palm tree.
Priscilla O'Reilly, a spokeswoman for the Overseas Adventure Travel tour company, says a Kindle ($260) or other electronic reader is great for travelers who love to read on the road but who don't want to lug books around.
Netbooks, which are small and less powerful than regular laptops, are another splurge gift, lightweight to carry and easy to use in cramped spaces like tray tables.
"With the proliferation of onboard Wi-Fi, I've thought about a tablet PC or a netbook," said Brett Snyder, who spends a lot of time on airplanes and writes a blog at http://CrankyFlier.com. "The seat pitch is so awful on some of these airlines that a full laptop is hard to use."
Netbooks make good gifts for ocean voyagers too: "What avid cruiser doesn't want to keep a blog of his or her trips or just have a place to store photos and short videos?" said Doug Stallings, cruise editor for Fodor's Travel, who recommends the HP Mini 311 Netbook, a little over 3 pounds and about $400.
For those lugging regular-sized laptops around, a laptop case approved by the Transportation Security Administration can help speed the way through security checkpoints, Snyder said.
Stallings also recommends the Flip Video Mino HD for travelers who like to make videos of their trips, and the iPod Nano, which plays not just music but also movies, a great diversion for the interminable waiting that's part of going anywhere.
Wendy Perrin, consumer news editor at Conde Nast Traveler magazine, who blogs at http://www.perrinpost.truth.travel, recommends the Powermat, $100, a new gadget that charges many small electronic devices, such as MP3 players, PDAs, cell phones and handheld game-players, without all the cords and chargers.
For families on the go, Perrin recommends the Sit'n'Stroll combination stroller-car seat, about $250. "When our kids were little, we could not have traveled nearly as much as we did without it," she said.
One small but "super-useful" item for traveling families is the Snack-Trap, $5, which keeps Cheerios, raisins and other bite-size goodies "inside the cup so they don't spill all over the airplane seat, the car floor, etc.," Perrin said. "I don't see how a traveling family can live without it."
For travelers concerned about fitness, a heart monitor and an iPod are the perfect combination, said Pauline Frommer, creator of the Pauline Frommer guidebooks -- http://pinkcitytravel.blogspot.com/.
"With those two pieces of equipment, I know I can wrestle a good workout out of whatever equipment might be in the hotel's gym, or have an effective jogging session, which I hate, but will resort to," she said. "The music keeps me going and the monitor shows me if I'm actually getting done what I need to get done."
She said the heart monitor, with a watch and a strap that goes around the chest, "has totally transformed" her workouts by helping her achieve target heart rates. Heart monitor watch/strap sets can be had for as little as $50.
From the travel supplier Magellan's -- http://pinkcitytravel.blogspot.com/ -- perennial best-sellers include the Taxi Wallet, a $49 thin leather wallet with separate currency pockets for U.S. and foreign money, plus a built-in snap pouch for change; PacSafe backpacks, starting at $100, with lockable zippers and wire-reinforced slash-proof straps and compartments; and a bottle pocket, $16.85, a padded carrier to keep wine from breaking or spilling.
Other classics on Magellan's list include a talking alarm clock, $29.85, and a voice-activated clock, $32.85.
Stallings, the Fodor's cruise editor, says travel clocks are great gifts for cruise passengers, because "one of the mysteries of life is why cruise-ship cabins do not have clocks."
New items this year at Magellan's include Moleskine City Notebooks, $18.85, for many major cities around the world, with maps and essential destination information added to the inviting blank pages of the classic journals; and pocket-sized fold-out language cards called 30 Words (they actually include 700 words), with pronunciation and color-coded categories, $12.85.
The travel product company Flight 001 -- http://pinkcitytravel.blogspot.com/ -- known for its fun and stylish offerings, has brightly striped neck pillows, $20; a hanging toiletry bag, $28, designed by Hadaki, geometric print on black with four zippered pouches; and an in-flight comfort kit, with an inflatable neck pillow, earplugs, eye mask and wet wipes, $22.
TravelSmart newsletter's holiday catalog -- click "Travel Merchandise" at http://pinkcitytravel.blogspot.com/-- also has many inexpensive gift items, like a $25 umbrella that folds up to just eight inches, and a handheld digital scale, $24, good for weighing anything from bass on a fishing trip to luggage for a plane trip.
TravelSmart editor Nancy Dunnan says the newsletter's best-selling items include the tiny Adventurer's 7-In-1 Tool, $20, with an LED flashlight, compass, digital thermometer, magnifying glass, safety mirror, whistle, and dry storage compartment for matches and medicine; a portable jewelry case, $21, that keeps necklaces tangle-free and earrings, pins and watches safe; and an electronic dictionary-clock-converter-calculator, $65, that among other things converts temperature and measurements, tracks time and date, and is thin and small enough to be used as a bookmark.

The Royal Wedding at Chomu Palace

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Sagai To Vidai
From pre-wedding ceremonies to gala wedding parties, we take care of everything to create an inspired wedding that you will cherish forever.
The Royal Wedding at Chomu Palace
Includes

Exotic Flower Decoration at the wedding venue and 2 main courtyards, floral decoration of mandap with some multi colored rangolis in the central courtyard.
Illumination of the Palace with ferry lights & traditional dias in the lawns and the palace.
Decoration of the choosen venue by natural lights candles etc.
Floral d├ęcor of the bridal room. world Tour and Travel
Priest and pooja materials.
Includes
One well decorated Elephant or Camel for Bride Groom.
Four Horses / Camel well decorated. Chomu tour and travel
Torch bearers
Traditional band for the procession
Six Royal Soldiers
Bagpiper / Shahani Music
Milni garlands and Jaimala
Welcome fire works at the main entrance of the palace.
Glass of Indian sparkling wine on arrival in the main courtyard.
Palanquin at the time of Bidai (Departure time)
Royal welcome at palace with Red carpet laid up on the stairs Torches lit up, decorated camels and horses, drum beaters, showering of flower petals and arti, tikka, garland by traditionally dressed up Rajasthani Girls.
Entertainment: -
Rajasthan Traditional Dances:
Langaas, Rajasthani folk dances like Kachi Goddi, Goomer, Terahthal, Fire dance, Bhawai, Kalbelia, Puppet show, More Chunk etc.
Modern beats:
Live Band, Singers live, D.J. with the lighted floor, Traffic lights, smoke guns, flickers, fun creekers etc.D.J. only incase the whole palace or Manohar garden is occupied.
Bar-be-que Dinner
Wedding banquet dinner at Moti Mehal.
Mehandi ceremony and ladies sangeet with village fair lunch at Bara Dari
Includes:-
Bazar would be created (Iron men, potters, shoe makers, jewelers, bangles makers and other artesian at work
Langa Musicians
Swing for the bride (Decorated with flowers)
Traditional Rajasthani cuisine
Photographer
Video Grapher
Beverage:
Option to purchase beverage on a very special rate.
Recreations and Facilities on Request:
Jeep safari, Camel safari around countryside can be organized on request Safa tying ceremony
Trekking to the fort and hanuman temple along with picnic lunch can be organized.
Ayurvedic massages Steam and Sauna
Lawns, Grass lawn tennis court, Badminton court, Table tennis, Snooker, Swimming pool.Read More......
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