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News & Advice

Travel Agenda: Robert Burns; bio-fuel test flights; Moscow's Winter Festival


Preview the Robert Burns National Collection touring exhibition at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. Visitors will also get to see a hand-written copy of JK Rowling's 'Beedle the Bard' ( nls.uk).

This week...

Air New Zealand's bio-fuel test flight takes off in Auckland on Thursday, powered by a jatropha bio-fuel blend; Continental Airlines will follow suit in Houston on 7 January ( airnewzealand.co.uk; continental.com). Back in Europe, Vilnius takes up the Capital of Culture mantle from Liverpool with a light and music show on New Year's Eve. See pages 10 and 11 for the ideal weekend guide. Its partner is Linz in Austria (linz09.at). More celebrations will be taking place at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, which marks its 250th birthday in 2009, starting with free entry on Thursday ( kew.org).

In the diary...

Christmas arrives late in Russia, where the Orthodox Church celebrates on 7 January, corresponding to 25 December in the Julian calendar. Moscow's Izmaylovsky Park is the focus of the Winter Festival ( visitrussia.org.uk). And in Mali, the renowned Festival in the Desert kicks off on 8 January in Essakane ( festival-au-desert.org).