A public transport strike appears likely to kick off on Wednesday night after unions and state-transport heads failed to agree on workers’ pay and conditions after three days of discussions. …
Last week, the newest example of a Police State began crawling in Brazil. …
The Russian Expo Theme “the Global Mind” implies three major objectives: to create an opportunity for comprehensive discussion of modern realities so as to “synchronize our clocks with the global time”; to develop an efficient platform for promotion of innovations; to highlight the significance of multiculturalism and the importance of its preservation. In order to achieve these objectives the Theme is broken down in five sub-themes: Innovation, Economics, Society, Quality of Life, Culture. Russia has created a special Programme for Assistance to Developing Countries providing for a fully covered participation in the Expo of about 80 nations. The Bid Committee presented a draft of the complex, which will be built if the city wins the bid to host the exhibition. Implementation of the project will require urban infrastructure investments to the tune of $50 billion, half of which will be raised from private investors, including foreign companies. Today, Russia’s steady economic, technological and industrial development has allowed it to maintain a prominent position in the World Expo arena, and demonstrate the newest projects and achievements in all strategically important and innovative areas. In spite of Russia’s long tradition and experience in participating in World Expositions, it has not yet had the honor of hosting one. Home to approximately 1.4 million people and located 1,667 kilometers east of Moscow, Ekaterinburg is the administrative centre of the Sverdlovsk region and the main city of the Ural Federal District of the Russian Federation. As the fourth largest city in Russia, Ekaterinburg has served as a significant stopping point on what is known as the Siberian Route – the 8,000 kilometre passage from Moscow to China. Today, Ekaterinburg is a major transport hub for people and goods, serving as a junction along the Trans-Siberian railway, home to an ultra-modern international airport and an intersecting point of six federal highways. Today, Ekaterinburg is the beneficiary of a robust and diverse economy, consistently rated as an attractive place to do business. It has hosted major international conferences and conventions, and is home to representatives of more than 400 multinational companies. Ekaterinburg creating a strategic infrastructure for innovation-driving business, including investments of billions of dollars in technoparks, industrial parks, innovative technology centres and modern transportation and communications infrastructures. Manufacturing is the city’s leading economic sector with an annual turnover exceeding €3.7 billion. Goods manufactured in Ekaterinburg are exported to more than 100 countries around the world. An average of 20 foreign businesses are launched from Ekaterinburg each year and a total of 320 foreign businesses were registered in 2010 which only reinforces its position as a growing hub for international business and investment. Ekaterinburg is also notable for its role as a major centre for science, education and technology. Additionally, with its 20 academic research institutes, the city is a centre of research for science and technology, namely for advanced nanotechnologies. Home to 31 higher-education institutions and 45 regional affiliates of higher education institutions from cities such as Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, and more than 220,000 students, the city has emerged as an education hub. Indicative of its business-friendly environment, for the past four years Ekaterinburg has been included in the Top 10 list of Forbes Magazine as one of the best and most convenient cities for business in Russia. Largely renovated in 2009, Ekaterinburg’s international airport, Koltsovo, is served by more than 30 domestic and international airlines and connects to 80 cities around the world. It currently welcomes 3.5 million passengers per year and will be able to serve 8 million per year by 2020. In 2012, the Koltsovo Airport was named the best airport in the CIS countries by the World Routes Awards. To further strengthen its bid for the World Expo 2020, the city is building Ekaterinburg Expo into the area’s largest exhibition complex and the most advanced facility of its kind in Russia. In order to win Russia will need to convince more than 80 countries who have a voice in determining the host city of the Expo. We sincerely expect to receive the necessary support and strongly believe that World Expo 2020 in Ekaterinburg will be a huge success. …
French rail strike cancels 70 percent of journeys 13/06/2013 13:56 CET
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The railway workers of the SNCF have followed the example of air traffic controllers: from 7pm on Wednesday until 8am on Friday, the railway network will be disrupted by a strike. The call from unions hostile to rail reform has been heard: on average only four trains in ten are running on the TGV and RER routes.
International lines are the least affected by the strike. Traffic is only reduced to Switzerland (one train in two) and Italy (one train in three). The Eurostar (to London), Thalys (to Brussels and Amsterdam) and Alléo (to Germany) lines are not affected.
The South-East TGV line and the province-province line are the most affected with one train in three running on average, according to an SNCF notice. For the TGV North, the expectation is that four trains in ten will run, followed by one train in two and two trains in three for the Atlantic and East lines respectively.
On the major intercity lines, three trains in ten are running.
At a regional level, the SNCF expects “more than four TER trains in 10” to run on average across the country, although there will be some disparity between regions.
In the Île-de-France region and Paris, the suburban RER network is widely affected, with one train in three for lines B and D, and one train in two for lines C and E. Only line A will function as normal.
The SNCF has provided travellers with phone numbers and websites, as well as smart phone applications so that they may stay up to date in real time with the situation.
By phone :
Major lines and TGV: 0 805 90 36 35
Info trafic Transilien: 0 805 70 08 05
Smartphones applications – download for free:
In stations, the SNCF have implemented mesures designed to help rail passengers. Dedicated personnel, ‘the red vests’, have also been deployed to inform travellers.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
From now on, smoking is officially outlawed in public transport, schools, unis, healthcare and sports facilities, state administration premises as well as in lifts and in stairways of apartment blocks. Getting a dose of nicotine while at an office is only permitted if it has a special ‘smoking room’ equipped with a ventilation system. To the dismay of nonsmokers, puffing cigarettes is still allowed in many pubs, cafes, clubs and restaurants. But that is only until July 1 2014, when the second – harshest – part of the new law comes into force, making lighting up illegal almost everywhere, including passenger trains, ships, transport platforms, hotels, and market places. In addition, from next year buying a pack of cigarettes in a kiosk will be banned – only large shops and supermarkets will be allowed to sell tobacco. A significant price-hike for cigarettes is expected; up from the current average 30-60 roubles ($US1 to 2) for a pack. Authorities hope the tough stance will help to fight Russia’s ubiquitous habit, which kills up to 400,000 people annually. Over 60 % of men and more than 20 % of women smoke in Russia, with many developing the unhealthy habit from childhood. “It’s important to prevent children and teenagers from starting to smoke. They shouldn’t be able to buy cigarettes on their way from school,” Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said earlier. She added that the new legislation will save up to 200,000 lives every year and noted that Russia’s tobacco ban is no harsher than similar laws in other countries. In yet another step in the war against Russians’ dangerous love affair with cigarettes, doctors will be testing all school-kids over 10 years of age for smoking. Additionally, all nicotine addicts will be able to get medical help free of charge. Russians divided on efficacy of the law Skeptics, however, state that the law – which sparked heated debate long before it was adopted – will not really significantly reduce the number of smokers. As a Russian classic said, “The severity of Russian laws is alleviated by the lack of obligation to obey them.” The question now is how exactly these new rules will be implemented, as it is practically impossible to have police monitoring every bus stop or playground in such a vast country to catch smokers in action and make them pay fines for violations (between $US 33 to 50). Opponents of the law particularly criticize the ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants saying that in Russia – where freezing winters last for about six months – kicking people outside to have their cigarette is not exactly the best solution to the problem. However, 76 % of the population – both smokers and nonsmokers – welcomed the idea of banning smoking in all public places, according to a poll by Russian Public Opinion Research Center, VCIOM. The outlawing of all forms of tobacco advertising imposed by the law has got even more supporters – 79 % gave a thumbs up to the initiative. Still, the law in general has split society, with 49 percent of the population (and a third of nonsmokers) being against the legal initiative since it is too strict. They believe that the ban will only spark corruption and require additional budget spending. Forbidden fruit is sweetest? Even smokers themselves are divided on the matter, discussing it over a cigarette. Some tobacco lovers believe the ban will help them to finally quit smoking. Musician Sergey Mazayev, the front man of band Moral Code and a long-time smoker, says that the law will make taking a drag on a cigarette more complicated. “It will be easier to quit rather than to get humbled, go somewhere [for a smoke],” he told BFM. ”There is a law and it must work. Otherwise there will be a mess as it is now. It’s very uncomfortable to live in such a society.” Others though are set to fight for their right to take a drag on a cigarette. Well-known Russian actor, Mikhail Boyarsky, who leads the movement For Rights of Smokers is one of the fierce opponents of the lawmakers’ solution to the smoking problem. Having puffed for a good 50 years, he is not going to give up and insists that special areas should be organized for smoking so that both smokers and nonsmokers feel comfortable. “We shouldn’t look at other countries’ [experience]. We’ve got our own mentality: forbidden fruit is sweet,” he said earlier in an interview with St Pete’s MK daily. “I think a democratic solution to the problem would be better in this case than orders that bring no result,” he added. The actor is confident it is not for MPs to rule on smoking issues since it is something that a person should decide for oneself. A true battle between supporters and opponents of the anti-smoking law erupted among Russian web users. “Idiocy!” was the verdict from user nicknamed “eeg” from Chelyabinsk region, one of the most polluted in Russia because of massive metallurgical industrial facilities located there. “It’s difficult to breathe, heavy traffic and here a guy comes and has a cigarette at the doorway. Are you taking us for fools? Bring order to the area,” eeg demanded in a comment posted on Echko Moskvy radio station website. User “vartanov” – who says he stopped lighting up – argues that the ban on smoking is a good idea. “And those whose rights were sort of limited, should think of the health of future generations. A person with a cigarette should become an alien, then a teenager would think ‘why should I start smoking? It’s not cool when a guy smokes quietly hiding around the corner.” …
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Millions of travellers on the Moscow metro are having to share their space with some unusually silent passengers.
The so-called Watercolour Train has been running on the Russian underground since 2007 and this latest edition features some of cities most important art works.
“I use this line often and it’s nice to see these pictures. I hope it makes art more accessible to young people,” said one commuter.
The train has been specially adapted so that pictures can be hung, protected by special glass frames.
And despite initial concerns over their safety, there have been no serious incidents since the watercolour train has been on the tracks.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
Reporters Without Borders is very disturbed by attempts by Polish government ministers to intimidate the media during the past the days. The media freedom organization condemns the utterly disproportionate and exorbitant damages that transport minister Slawomir Nowak is demanding from the magazine Wprost in a libel suit over an April 2013 story about his friendship with businessmen who often win government contracts and his presence at private parties paid for by wealthy corporate (…) …