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World’s Oldest Travel firm and British travel giant Thomas Cook collapses, stranding hundreds of thousands

Thomas Cook , the World’s Oldest and British travel giant firm on Monday, September 23, declared bankruptcy after failing to reach a last-ditch rescue deal, triggering the UK’s biggest repatriation since World War II to bring back stranded passengers.

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Thomas Cook , the World’s Oldest and British travel giant firm on Monday, September 23, declared bankruptcy after failing to reach a last-ditch rescue deal, triggering the UK’s biggest repatriation since World War II to bring back stranded passengers.

The 178-year-old operator had been desperately seeking £200 million ($250 million) from private investors to save it from collapse.

“Despite considerable efforts, those discussions have not resulted in agreement between the company’s stakeholders and proposed new money providers,” Thomas Cook said in a statement. “The company’s board has therefore concluded that it had no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect,” it added. 

Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser said it was a matter of profound regret that the company had gone out of business after it failed to secure a rescue package from its lenders in frantic talks that went through the weekend.

“I would like to apologise to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners who have supported us for many years,” Fankhauser said in a statement.

“It is a matter of profound regret to me and the rest of the board that we were not successful,” he added.

“This marks a deeply sad day for the company which pioneered package holidays and made travel possible for millions of people around the world,” he further said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to get stranded British travellers home and revealed that the government had rejected a request from Thomas Cook for a bailout of about 150 million pounds ($187.1 million) because doing so would have set up a “moral hazard”.

“It is a very difficult situation and obviously our thoughts are very much with the customers of Thomas Cook, the holiday makers who may now face difficulties getting home we will do our level best to get them home,” he told  reporters on a plane as he headed to the UN General Assembly in New York.

The government said it had hired planes to fly home an estimated 150,000 holidaymakers to the UK, in an operation starting on Monday.

British Transport Minister Grant Shapps said the government had managed to “acquire planes from across the world” to get people home, and call centres had been established to answer travellers’ queries.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also announced that the government and UK Civil Aviation Authority has hired dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge,” a separate statement said, describing it as the largest repatriation in peacetime history.

“All customers currently abroad with Thomas Cook who is booked to return to the UK over the next two weeks will be brought home as close as possible to their booked return date,” he said. 

The firm’s creditors held a marathon meeting on Sunday, September 22, to try and work out a deal, followed by a meeting of the board of directors.

 Reports said a collapse of the group would mean the repatriation of 600,000 tourists, including around 150,000 seeking government help returning to the UK.

Two years ago, the collapse of Monarch Airlines prompted the British government to take emergency action to return 110,000 stranded passengers, costing taxpayers some £60 million on hiring planes.

Not only the grounding of its planes, Thomas Cook has been forced to shut travel agencies, leaving the group’s 22,000 global employees, 9,000 of whom are in Britain, out of a job.

Holidaymakers had already reported problems, with guests at a hotel in Tunisia owed money by Thomas Cook being asked for extra money before being allowed to leave, according to reports.

Ryan Farmer, from Leicestershire, told BBC Radio Five’s Stephen Nolan the hotel had on Saturday afternoon summoned all guests who were due to leave to go to reception “to pay additional fees”.

With many tourists refusing to pay on the grounds they had already paid Thomas Cook, security guards were keeping the hotel’s gates shut, refusing to allow guests out, or to let new visitors enter.

“We can’t leave the hotel. I’d describe it as exactly the same as being held hostage,” Farmer said.

Thomas Cook in May revealed that first-half losses widened on a major write-down, caused in part by Brexit uncertainty that delayed summer holiday bookings. The group, which has around 600 stores across the UK, has also come under pressure from fierce online competition.

Cabinet maker Thomas Cook created the travel firm in 1841 to carry temperance supporters by train between British cities. It soon began arranging foreign trips, being the first operator to take British travellers on escorted visits to Europe in 1855, to the United States in 1866 and on round-the-world trips in 1872.

The company was also a pioneer in introducing “circular note” — products that would later become traveller’s cheques.

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Bigg Boss 14 contestant Rahul Vaidya struggles walking in knee deep water, compares Dubai rains with Mumbai floods

Singer and TV personality Rahul Vaidya was recently stranded in the Dubai rains.

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Rahul Vaidya, who was in Dubai ahead of his show which was scheduled to take place today, left the country due to heavy rains and reached Kolkata. The artist shared on social media his encounters in the UAE city, including challenges like walking through knee-deep water. Rahul provided an update regarding the heavy rainfall in Dubai on his Instagram profile.

The Bigg Boss 14 contestant revealed that he was in Kolkata and prepared to do an evening performance. Recalling the terrifying period he went through, Vaidya said there was a lot of confusion and panic in Dubai. The situation was similar to that when heavy floods hit Mumbai in 2005.

Vaiday also posted seval other images and videos of cars that were underwater and flooded roadways. The Bigg Boss 14 contestant, who shared his ordeal, claimed that even though it had just rained for two hours, the situation was dire.

In one of the video, which went viral he can be seen struggling in walking in knee-deep water. He can be also seen holding his sneakers in one hand and with other hand he was seen managing other things.

This is the result of the two hours of rain that it had, he can be heard saying in the video. Vidya also said he dosen’t believe Dubai is accustomed to a lot of rain. Everything had stopped working, he remarked.

After taking part in the first season of the singing reality show Indian Idol, Rahul Vaidya gained widespread recognition. In addition to Bigg Boss, he took part in Khatron Ke Khiladi 11.

Meanwhile, heavy rains that triggered flooding in the UAE and Bahrain, which left 18 people dead in Oman on Sunday and Monday, have paralyzed the financial hub of the Middle East, Dubai.

A lot of incoming flights were diverted from Dubai’s international airport because of the rain. At 7:26 p.m., the busiest airport in the world for foreign visitors stopped accepting new arrivals; a gradual resumption was announced for more than two hours later.

Images of planes navigating flooded tarmacs are making the rounds on social media.

According to pictures shared on social media, the flagship malls Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates both experienced heavy floods, while at least one Dubai Metro station had water up to the ankles.

There were several road collapses, severe flooding in residential areas, and numerous reports of leaks from windows, doors, and roofs.

Due to the unfavourable weather, schools around the United Arab Emirates were forced to close, and as more storms are predicted, the closures are anticipated to last until Wednesday. The government of Dubai allowed its staff to work remotely till this Wednesday.

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Dubai sky turns green during storm in UAE, video goes viral

The UAE witnessed record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday and the National Centre of Meteorology recorded 254 mm of rainfall in less than 24 hrs in the Khatm Al Shakla area in Al Ain.

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1 person was killed in UAE as it witnessed heavy rainfall on Tuesday, stranding commuters, flooding roads, disrupting trains and flights and resulting in water leakage from mall ceilings. The UAE witnessed record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday and the National Centre of Meteorology recorded 254 mm of rainfall in less than 24 hrs in the Khatm Al Shakla area in Al Ain. It is being said that the rainfall was the highest documented since the start of data collection in 1949.

The heavy rainfall in UAE came days after a similar situation in neighbouring Oman, where 13 people were killed in flash floods. Many parts of Oman saw torrential rains, which caused students to be trapped in buses and swept away motorists and trapped people in their homes.

Videos from Dubai circulating on social media showed widespread waterlogging on roads in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other important cities. This left daily commuters in cars and other vehicles struggling to get back home. Dubai metro station too was seen flooded and closed.

One such video circulating on social media shows the aerial view of the city of Dubai from the top of a building. In the video the stormy winds are seen blowing over the city of Dubai. As the storm intensifies the Dubai sky turns green and ultimately gets covered by heavy rainfall. The video has gone viral on social media with more than 1.1 million views.

Another video showed water leakage from the ceilings of shopping malls, flooding the floors and destroying goods. A video which was shot in the famous Mall of the Emirates, showed pieces of ceiling falling as the rainwater gushed inside. Videos from many outlets of the Deira City Centre mall chain showed escalators being rendered unusable. Majid Al Futtaim, the company which owns the Mall of Emirates, said that the shopping complexes have been kept open and the customers are being sent away from the flooded areas. 

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda says statements on reclaiming Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka have no ground

Devananda told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu as elections are taking place in India.

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda has said the statements from some political leaders in India on reclaiming Katchatheevu from the island nation have no ground. He told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about the strategic island as elections are taking place in India.

The Sri Lankan Minister said he thought India is acting on its interests to secure this place to ensure Sri Lankan fishermen would not have any access to that area and that Sri Lanka should not claim any rights in that resourceful area. According to the 1974 agreement, Devananda said Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen can go fishing in the territorial waters of both countries until the pact was reviewed and amended in 1976.

The amended agreement resulted in fishermen from both countries being barred from fishing in neighboring waters. India’s ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday steered clear of the row surrounding Katchatheevu island. To a volley of questions on the Katchatheevu issue, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reffered to External affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent comments on the matter.

He said he would like to talk about the issue that has been raised. He added the External Affairs minister has spoken to the press here in Delhi and also in Gujarat and has clarified all the issues. He said everyone should look into the press engagements and they would find the answers to their questions there.

The remarks from Devananda, a Sri Lankan Tamil, came days after the Narendra Modi government accused the Congress and its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu of overlooking national interests by handing over Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The BJP has also been slamming the 2 parties for not ensuring the rights of the fishermen wanting to fish in waters around the island.

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