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Greek referendum: 61% Greeks voted NO

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Athens: “NO” led by 61 percent of votes against 39 percent for YES in crucial Greek referendum on the debt deal creditors have submitted, according to the first official estimate released by the Interior Ministry with about 20 percent of votes counted.

Turnout in Sunday’s referendum that might decide whether Greece would stave off an imminent disorderly default and a possible exit from the euro zone stood at approximately 57 percent, a media outlet cited the first official estimate.

At least 40 percent of the electoral body should participate for the referendum to be valid, under the Greek Constitution.

As the final official results were expected on Monday morning, Greek cabinet ministers were expressing the Leftist government’s satisfaction over the outcome and willingness to strike a better agreement with lenders immediately.

“We must strike a deal within 48 hours,” Greek government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis told the national broadcaster ERT highlighting the urgency for a deal, as the local banking system faced the specter of collapse with no foreign aid, banks closed and capital controls introduced since last Monday.

The chief of Greece’s Banking Association, Louka Katseli has said that ATMs are expected to run out of cash on Monday should the emergency liquidity aid to Greek banks not resume in the next few hours.

Voters gave a clear mandate to the Leftist government to seek a “mutually beneficial” solution to the crisis based on its proposals rather than the creditor’s offer on harsh terms, Sakellaridis argued, as NO camp proponents were gathering in front of the parliament to celebrate.

Sakellaridis and other cabinet ministers speaking in local media assured that dialogue with lenders would resume from Sunday night. According to government sources, the Greek negotiating team was ready to travel to Brussels.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who called the referendum a week ago as five month negotiations with lenders had hit an impasse, has assured voters that on July 7 Greece will have a deal at hand on better terms to secure further vital international funding to stay afloat in the euro zone.

The government assured that banks which closed after the European Central Bank cut off emergency liquidity aid following his surprise call for the referendum, will reopen on Tuesday.

Skepticism was widespread, in particular after remarks made by some ministers on Sunday evening.

“In 24 hours we could have an agreement, I said. But our toxic media rushed to report that I predicted an agreement within 24 hours,” Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis tweeted.

Deputy Finance Minister, Nadia Valavanis caused an immediate uproar by stating on Alpha television that the government intended to block access to safe deposit boxes in banks vaults to savers to avert further bank run.

European officials, main opposition parties in Greece and analysts across the world have warned that the result could be interpreted as a NO to Greece’s future membership in the euro zone and lead to more hardship for Greek people.

Since July 1, Greece is already in arrears to the International Monetary Fund and without the safety net of the bailout program that kept it afloat over the past five years, is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Officials and analysts in Greece and abroad warned that banks may not reopen this week and Greek citizens will suffer more pain before any deal is reached. (IANS)

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Here are 4 Travel Destinations for Couples

Honeymoon destination worth considering

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Here are some travel destinations for couples seeking a romantic holiday. Pixabay

One can pick from a wide array of idyllic locales such as Greece, Switzerland, South Africa, and Italy. But how do you choose whether you want to snuggle up in front of a fire and relax to the sound of the tides on a hammock? Heres is a list of this seasons handpicked hotels for the discerning traveller. Couples seeking the ultimate romantic holiday can choose from a range of experiences and settings such as – hidden getaways, wellness retreats, culinary sojourns and adventure in the wilderness.

1. The SECLUDED RETREAT

Myconian Villa Collection, Greece

Nestled into the hillside above Elia Bay, the Mykonian ?Villa Collection is a unique luxury? resort? ?concept. ?This tranquil island escape offers impeccable service with quintessential Greek decor accented by bespoke wood-crafted furnishing and vibrant fabrics. The essence of Myconian beauty and lifestyle runs like a blue thread through a constellation of exceptionally spacious suites and rooms, while superb villas offer the discreet yet boundless opulence of a private house in Mykonos. Leaning into the mountain, the terraced villas have uninterrupted views of the Aegean Sea, culminating in a 360-degree panorama on the vast entertainment deck with its plush bar, epicurean restaurant and saltwater infinity pool.

Travellers can choose the luxurious privacy of the Lover’s Suite where special services such as in-room evening meals, couples’ massages on the scenic deck, and other such intimate indulgences can be experienced. This Cycladic Island combines a romantic ambience for newlyweds with sandy beaches, turquoise waters and a world-class nightlife scene for evenings that take guests into the morning hours.

Guests can book a longer stay for 3 nights or more, and save up to 30% on the Best Available Rates at this member hotel with the �Stay More Save More Offer’ from Preferred Hotels & Resorts. This offer is valid for bookings made from now till December 31, 2019; for stays through March 31, 2020.

Greece couples
A holiday in Greece provides secluded retreat to couples. Pixabay

2. The WELLNESS GETAWAY

The Capra, Switzerland

An intimate, alpine luxury spa lodge in a spectacular natural setting. The Capra is a car-free Swiss ski resort, also a favourite among winter sports connoisseurs. There is guaranteed high-quality snow, and authentic charm – combining the cosiness of a chalet with the comforts of a luxury hotel. Expansive suites in warm earthy tones have panoramic views of snow-frosted peaks, pristine valleys, and wide-open skies where guests can relax, recharge and reconnect with nature. The fire-lit lounge, well-appointed library, and deluxe spa are designed to soothe the senses. Even more indulgent is the wholesome farm-to-table cuisine offered at the hotel.

The Spa at the resort is run and managed by Peak Health. Their goal is not only to help guests to unwind, but to develop personal strategies and holistic approach to resetting health based on the latest scientific research by a team of wellness experts from around the globe. The Spa offers a fully immersive retreat programme that helps guests transform their lifestyle, it also consists of indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, salt-therapy rooms, saunas, fully equipped gym, yoga studio, and a varied selection of intensive treatments for the mind and body.

3. ADVENTURE ESCAPE

Gondwana Game Reserve, South Africa

Less than a four-hour drive from Cape Town International Airport, along South Africa’s scenic Garden Route, the 11,000-hectare Private Game Park offers a distinctive and luxurious safari destination with free-roaming Big 5 safari animals (lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino, and leopard). Gondwana Game Reserve is known for its well-appointed safari lodge accommodation, awe-inspiring views, attentive service, exquisite South African cuisine, and an array of adventure-linked activities including game drives, birdwatching, fynbos walks, mountain biking, hiking trails and more. Luxury accommodation is offered in Kwena Lodge, a modern twist on the traditional Khoi-San dwelling. The 14 open-plan suites are nestled into the breath-taking natural surroundings with 180-degree views, skylights for star gazing, fireplaces and deep baths.

Gondwana Game Reserve is an ideal African honeymoon destination for adventure enthusiasts. It is a picture-perfect retreat where guests can create lasting memories on their romantic vacation, from immersing themselves in the spectacular scenery, enjoying private dining experiences, to the reinvigorating Africology massages at the spa and more.

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Italy is a very romantic travel place for couples. Pixabay

4. CULINARY SOJOURNS

Il Castelfalfi, Italy

Nestled amid the sun-kissed Tuscan hills, surrounded by vineyards, centuries-old olive trees and period farmhouses, Il Castelfalfi is the perfect getaway to plan a romantic escape. Sample traditional ingredients and flavours with a cooking class at Rosso Toscano Cooking school and visit the local vineyards to discover the favourite wines. Once set in a village, the grounds now surrounding the resort are filled with charming shops and restaurants sure to transport travellers to a different era.

At the gourmet restaurant – La Rocca di Castelfalfi, top chef Michele Rinaldi reinterprets traditional cuisine for guests to savour. Located within the medieval castle brought back to life after a meticulous restoration, the restaurant is a landmark in the village, where guests enjoy the authentic taste of

Also Read- Top 5 Tourist Places in South Korea’s Incheon

The above-listed hotels are members of Preferred Hotels & Resorts – Legend Collection. Guests can book a longer stay for 3 nights or more, and save up to 30% on the Best Available Rates at this member hotel with the �Stay More Save More Offer’ from Preferred Hotels & Resorts. This offer is valid for bookings made from now till December 31, 2019; for stays through March 31, 2020. (IANS)