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US workers get and take precious little time off work. On average private sector workers in the US get 9 paid vacation days and 6 holidays a year. Experts fear that those numbers could decline. Amazingly 1 in 4 US workers get not paid leave or holidays at all.
In Europe many workers are entitled to at least 20 days of annual paid leave (25 to 30 days are actually more common). Canadians get 18 days and the workaholic Japanese get 10 days. 137 countries mandate some paid leave for workers, including Algeria, Djibouti, Niger and Latvia.
A growing movement in the US to change the situation is gathering steam, insisting that that quality time off from work keeps workers happier and healthier.
Here is a table of paid vacation days and holidays mandated by governments around the world
Visitors numbers are down because of the increased difficulty in gaining tourist visas to enter India. However I think a lot of visitors have been out off, thinking that visas are difficult to obtain, when in fact they are not. I got my visa at the Birmingham office in the UK in 10 days. Other people I have spoken to here in Goa said they also got their visas at home without any trouble.
I know people who have gained their visas from India's neighboring countries, like Nepal, have found it more difficult, only getting 3 month single entry visa, rather than the 6 month multiple-entry visas they wanted.
Goan business owners say they are facing a difficult summer monsoon season on 2008. With reduced earnings some will have to find other forms of income during the difficult rainy season. Many business owners have invested lots of money improving their accommodation and restaurants, only to have them sit empty of the Christmas period. Hopefully visitor numbers will return to normal in the 2008 Christmas period.
As long as one organizes a visa well in advance, I see no reason that a Christmas visit to Goa is any more difficult than previous years. Don't be put off, Goa is an amazing place offering great value, endless sunshine, beautiful beaches and something for everyone.
Nepal today set in motion the process to abolish the world's last Hindu monarchy with a Parliament commencing a debate on Constitution Amendment bill, a day after Maoists agree to return to the government as part of a landmark deal.
The Bill provides for declaring the country a Republic by amending the interim Constitution in line with the 23-point deal signed by the Seven Party Alliance including the Maoists, which signaled the end of the three-month peace deadlock.
This is a big step forward for Nepal. Lets hope that the problems that face Nepal and it's tourist industry are set for resolution.