EU trains – Rail Eisure http://raileisure.com/ Thu, 27 May 2021 01:37:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://raileisure.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/cropped-icon-32x32.png EU trains – Rail Eisure http://raileisure.com/ 32 32 How to get around Portugal https://raileisure.com/how-to-get-around-portugal/ https://raileisure.com/how-to-get-around-portugal/#respond Wed, 26 May 2021 17:05:33 +0000 https://raileisure.com/how-to-get-around-portugal/

Home to world-class beaches, attractive and exciting cities and protected natural parks, Portugal is the kind of place where it’s hard to limit yourself to one place. Fortunately, the country has an excellent, affordable transport network – as well as plenty of rental opportunities for two and four-wheeled vehicles – making traveling around this Iberian wonder a breeze. Here’s how to get around Portugal.

Cross-country trains connect most cities in Portugal, including pretty Porto © Mapics / Shutterstock

Form

Portugal has an extensive rail network that spans almost the entire country, allowing affordable, comfortable, convenient and often scenic trips between destinations. Trains connect to popular tourist spots such as Lisbon, Faro, Lagos, Porto and Figueria da Foz, while international connections serve Paris and Madrid.

CP (Comboios de Portugal) is the main rail operator in the country, operating four main types of long distance services (note that international services are marked IN on the timetables):

  • Regional (R): slow trains that stop almost everywhere.
  • Interregional (IR): faster services that skip smaller stations.
  • Intercidade (IC): express trains which tend to stop only in large cities.
  • Alfa Pendular Deluxe: slightly faster than express trains and much more expensive.

Only Faro-Porto Comboio Azul and international trains such as Sud-Expresso and Talgo Lusitânia have dining cars, although all IC and Alfa trains have aisle service and most have bars.

Lisbon and Porto have their own urbano (suburban) rail networks. The Lisbon network extends to Sintra, Cascais, Setúbal and in the lower valley of the Tejo. The Porto network takes the definition of “suburb” to new lengths, extending to Braga, Guimarães and Aveiro. Urbano services also run between Coimbra and Figueira da Foz.

Trains can be booked online via the CP official website, or at stations across the country. Intercidade and Alfa Pendular tickets up to 30 days in advance, although you usually have little trouble booking for the next day or even the same day. Other services can only be booked 24 hours in advance.

It should be noted that children under five travel for free and those between five and 12 travel at half price. Additionally, travelers aged 65 and over can get 50% off any service by showing ID.

Bus

Cheaper than trains, but slower and generally less comfortable, buses are ideal for getting around Portugal on a shoestring budget, or for visiting smaller towns and villages (especially far from the coast) that aren’t on the safe side. the rail network.

A multitude of small private bus operators, most of them merged into regional companies, manage a dense network of services across the country. Among the greatest are Rede Expressos, Rodonorte and the Algarve line Eva Transportes.

Bus services fall into three main categories:

  • Carreiras: marked “CR”, these are slow services, stopping at all intersections.
  • Expressos and Rápidas: Comfortable and fast buses. The former tends to circulate between large cities, the latter around specific regions. These tend to be the most popular with tourists.
  • Alta Qualidade: A category of fast luxury offered by some companies.

Even in summer, you will have no problem booking an espresso ticket for the same day or the next day. On the other hand, local services can be reduced to almost nothing on weekends, especially in the summer when school is out. For precise information on timetables and prices, go to the ticket office at the bus station, available in most cities.

A narrow Portuguese street with old classic vintage VW Beetle car parked in Lisbon, Portugal.
Portugal is great for exploring on two or four wheels © Andrii Lutsyk / Shutterstock

Car and motorbike

Exploring Portugal on two or four wheels is a great way to see the country, allowing you to move around freely without being tied to the public transport network. The country’s modest network of estradas (highways) is gradually spreading across the country, and the main roads are paved and generally in good condition. Driving can be tricky in the small walled towns of Portugal, however, where the roads can shrink to the size of a donkey cart before you know it and evil one-way systems can force you down. move away.

Nationals of EU countries, UK, USA and Brazil only need their domestic driver’s license to drive a car or motorcycle in Portugal. Others should obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) through an automobile licensing service or automobile club in their home country.

Renting a car in Portugal is relatively straightforward and rental outfits can be found in major cities and major airports like Lisbon, Porto and Faro. Competition has driven the Algarve’s fares to lower prices than elsewhere, and booking in advance will usually save you money. Car rental companies available in the country include Amoita, Vacation cars and Europcar among many others.

Motorcycles and scooters can be hired in major cities and all over the Algarve coast. Expect to pay between € 30- € 60 per day for a scooter / motorbike.

By law, car seat belts must be worn in the front and rear seats, and children under 12 cannot ride in the front. Motorcyclists and their passengers must wear helmets and motorcycles must have their headlights on day and night. It is also illegal in Portugal to drive while talking on a cell phone.

Plane

Flights within mainland Portugal are expensive, and for short distances it’s not really worth considering. However, TAP offers several daily flights Lisbon-Porto and Lisbon-Faro (in less than an hour) all year round. For Porto in Faro, change in Lisbon.

A young woman cycling on a narrow wooden promenade in Carrapateira, Portugal.  In the distance, the blue sea is visible.
Cycling is popular all over Portugal © Enrique Díaz / 7cero / Getty Images

Bicycle

Cycling is popular in Portugal, although there are few dedicated cycle paths. There are many possible routes in the mountainous national / natural parks of the north (in particular the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês), along the coast or through the plains of Alentejo. Coastal trips are easiest from north to south, with prevailing winds. More demanding is the Serra da Estrela (which serves as the “mountain race” of the Tour de Portugal). You can also try the Serra do Marão between Amarante and Vila Real.

However, cycling conditions are not perfect everywhere, with paved roads in some centers of the old town likely to break your teeth if your tires aren’t big enough; they must be at least 38 mm in diameter.

Local bike clubs regularly organize Passeio BTT trips; consult their flyers at rental agencies, bicycle shops and turismos. There are many places to rent bikes, especially in the Algarve and other tourist areas. Prices vary from € 10 to € 25 per day. Guided trips are often available to popular tourist destinations.

Boxed or bagged bicycles can be carried free of charge on all regional and interregional trains as accompanied baggage. They can also be unpacked on a few commuter services on weekends or for a small fee outside of peak hours. Most national bus lines do not accept bicycles on board.

Tram

Getting on one of Portugal’s archaic trams has become one of the country’s must-see experiences. These charming, clicking relics roll through the narrow streets of Lisbon and Porto, and are a good way to get a cheap sightseeing tour of both cities. For this reason, they are often very busy in the height of summer – opt for an early morning trip to secure your seat.

How to spend 24 hours in Lisbon, Portugal

Accessible transport in Portugal

Disabled facilities in Portugal are somewhat limited. While public offices and agencies are required to provide access and facilities for people with disabilities, private companies are not. Newer and larger hotels tend to have adapted rooms, although the facilities may not be up to par; ask the local turismo. Most campsites have accessible toilets and some hostels have facilities for people with disabilities.

Lisbon Airport is wheelchair accessible, while Porto and Faro airports have accessible toilets.

Parking spaces are allocated at many locations, but are frequently occupied. The EU parking card entitles visitors to the same street parking concessions as those granted to residents with disabilities.

Two useful resources for travelers with disabilities are Accessible Portugal, a Lisbon-based association promoting accessible tourism and the brains behind the excellent TUR4all Portugal application (Android and iOS), which functions as a database of tourism resources and services accessible across Portugal and Spain, and Secretaria do Nacional de Reabilitação, the national government organization representing people with disabilities. It provides information, provides links to useful operations and publishes guides (in Portuguese) that give advice on barrier-free accommodation, transport, shops, restaurants and sights.

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Weekly Belt and Road Investor News # 30 https://raileisure.com/weekly-belt-and-road-investor-news-30/ https://raileisure.com/weekly-belt-and-road-investor-news-30/#respond Tue, 25 May 2021 05:42:18 +0000 https://raileisure.com/weekly-belt-and-road-investor-news-30/

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Welcome to this week’s issue of China Briefing’s Belt & Road Initiative’s weekly investor intelligence roundup.

Welcome to this week’s issue of China Briefing’s Belt & Road Initiative’s weekly investor intelligence roundup.

We immediately take a look at the fallout and implications of Belarus’ intervention of a commercial airliner intercepted by a military MiG29 and what this means for regional Belt and Road trade, take a look at the huge growth in EU rail freight- China, let’s take a look at the trade opportunities between China and Central Asia as well as between Russia and ASEAN.

Finally, we examine the need for due diligence along the Belt and Road initiative and provide free access to an acclaimed BIS business guide.

If you find this useful, send it to a friend. Subscriptions can be obtained at www.silkroadbriefing.com


Situation of hijackings in Belarus: regional trade implications

Our analysis of the apparent hijacking of the Ryanair plane to Minsk, why it happened, the regional trade implications, and the impact on China’s BRI investments in Belarus.

European rail freight operators report increases of 100% more for rail and road freight

Austria’s Rail Cargo Group (RCG) said it carried 70,000 TEUs on Belt & Road routes in 2020, while the EU’s Metrans shipped around 30,000 TEUs, with the company operating 913 trains in 2020, more than double the the previous year.

The need for increased due diligence along the belt and the road

Our review of why due diligence is important when doing business and trading within new BIS infrastructure opportunities.

China and Central Asia: regional trade and investment relations

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on China and Central Asian countries to explore a new style of regional cooperation and build a community with a common future. We take a look at what this means and where the opportunities lie.

Opportunities for Russian investors in ASEAN

Russia became a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum in 1995 and became a full dialogue partner in 1996. Each ASEAN country presents its own unique investment opportunities to Russian companies, ranging from export from military equipment to wheat to high-tech manufacturing. Bilateral trade between ASEAN and Russia reached US $ 18.2 billion in 2019. We look at the trends.

New China Plus Investment Guide: Identifying Opportunities Under the Belt & Road Initiative

This 142-page guide is a unique study on investment opportunities under the China Belt & Road Initiative. As infrastructure construction is completed, the investment potential increases. This book covers comprehensive aspects of BIS free trade, taxation and law as well as potential pitfalls.


About Us

Dezan Shira and associates providing business intelligence, market research, legal, tax and compliance matters to foreign investors across Asia, and has 28 offices in the region. We are a member of the Leading Edge Alliance, a network of related companies with offices around the world. For assistance with researching the Belt & Road Initiative, please contact us at silkroad@dezshira.com or visit us at www.dezshira.com. To subscribe to our Belt & Road Initiative portal, please click here.


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‘War is global’: EU trains Mali to fight jihadists – SABC News https://raileisure.com/war-is-global-eu-trains-mali-to-fight-jihadists-sabc-news/ https://raileisure.com/war-is-global-eu-trains-mali-to-fight-jihadists-sabc-news/#respond Mon, 24 May 2021 14:34:29 +0000 https://raileisure.com/war-is-global-eu-trains-mali-to-fight-jihadists-sabc-news/

In conflict-affected central Mali, a soldier pulls the firing line on a howitzer, but no bullet fires on the horizon. This is a training session aimed at giving the Malian army the upper hand in its multi-year struggle against the rebels.

It is organized by the European Union training mission in Mali, or EUTM, and led for nine weeks by Captain de la Pena.

“We are training indirect fire to give them the ability to support infantry units over longer distances without being exposed to the enemy. So we give them the option of using the howitzer to its maximum capacity. “

The EU has provided intelligence, driving, explosives detection and artillery training to nearly 14,000 Malian soldiers since 2012. It was the year that French forces drove the jihadists out of the country. northern desert of the country.

But despite the presence of 13,000 United Nations peacekeepers and 5,100 French soldiers, militants linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have rebounded, fueling a security crisis in Mali and the entire Sahel region. .

Deadly attacks increased eightfold between 2015 and 2020 and more than five million people were displaced. Parts of northern and central Mali are ungovernable and more than 70 Malian soldiers have been killed this year alone.

Colonel Traoré, who heads Mali’s 6th military zone, says the relationship between the EU and Mali is an exchange of knowledge.

“The armies are neighbors, the armies are complementary. I understand that EUTM is there to complement our knowledge and our efforts. The war we are waging is global: it is the war against terrorism. It’s not just at home. “

On the last day of the exercises, the soldiers of the 614th Artillery Battalion appeared confident and relaxed.

But Colonel Traore has a warning. With training coming to an end, it’s time to prepare for the battlefield.


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Hyundai raises hydrogen game as new trucks arrive in Europe https://raileisure.com/hyundai-raises-hydrogen-game-as-new-trucks-arrive-in-europe/ https://raileisure.com/hyundai-raises-hydrogen-game-as-new-trucks-arrive-in-europe/#respond Mon, 24 May 2021 06:13:08 +0000 https://raileisure.com/hyundai-raises-hydrogen-game-as-new-trucks-arrive-in-europe/

FRANKFURT: South Korea’s Hyundai Motor plans to ship a new series of fuel cell trucks to Europe later this year, stepping up the pressure on rivals in a battle to test the viability of transporting heavy-duty hydrogen-powered cargo.

A new class of Hyundai Xcient trucks, equipped with more efficient fuel cells with a longer lifespan, is expected to arrive in Europe in the fourth quarter, said Mark Freymueller, CEO of Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM).

Hydrogen lags behind electric batteries in green transportation issues because it is more expensive, but proponents say that for long-haul transportation, hydrogen trucks have the advantage because they have a greater autonomy.

HHM, a joint venture between Hyundai and Swiss hydrogen company H2 Energy, has been leasing “green” hydrogen trucks to commercial customers in Switzerland since last October as part of the world’s most advanced pilot project in the field.

HHM plans to visit other European countries next year. “Germany and the Netherlands are the most likely,” Freymueller told Reuters, adding that there was also interest in pilots from Austria, Norway, France, Italy, Spain and Denmark.

Hyundai’s latest push will put more pressure on local players, who are developing their own hydrogen plans.

These include Germany’s Daimler with Swedish Volvo and Italian Iveco, a unit of Italian-American manufacturer CNH Industrial, which cooperates with low-emission truck maker Nikola.

Hydrogen has become in the spotlight in Europe, where EU environment ministers want CO2 emissions from trucks to be cut by a third by 2030 from 2019 levels, threatening to possible diesel bans and higher taxes, but promising up to 75% reduction in road tolls for greener vehicles.

Although more expensive than battery electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles driven by on-board hydrogen will potentially benefit from Europe’s desire to build a leading industry around hydrogen technology. .

A study by consulting firm Berylls Strategy Advisors estimates that by 2030, 25% of new truck sales in Europe will be battery powered and 10% fuel cell powered. But the report could change if green hydrogen were stepped up, he said.

POSITIVE FEEDBACK

Hyundai chose Switzerland for its pilot project on the basis of benign regulations, environmentally conscious customers and reliable hydropower, which accounts for 58% of the country’s energy mix. The local road tax is removed for carbon-free vehicles, while fossil fuel vehicles pay around 800 euros ($ 977) for each tonne of CO2 they emit.

“Anyone who wants to see how fuel cell technology works on the road should go to Switzerland,” said Steffen Stumpp, head of the commercial vehicles business unit at Berylls.

Early customer feedback on Hyundai’s pay-as-you-go pilot seems positive. The drivers of the Coop grocery chain like the payload similar to diesel trucks and with just a few minutes of refueling, a spokesperson said.

“There was no need to change my driving style,” said Nadine Sigrist, a driver for the Migros retailer in the Zurich area. “What was new to me was the tremendous acceleration and the quiet engine.”

As new Hyundai trucks arrive, Swiss power company Alpiq plans to increase its electrolysis capacity in Niedergoesgen, where it produces green hydrogen which is then transported on trucks as gasoline to stations- service.

“We will go from 2 megawatts in the direction of double digits, or 5 to 10 megawatts,” said Amedee Murisier, head of hydropower generation at Alpiq and member of the board of directors of Hydrospider, a Swiss joint venture of green hydrogen enters Alpiq, the Linde gas group. and H2 Energy.

The hydrospider could break even as early as 2022, Murisier said.

BATTERY VS FUEL BATTERIES

McKinsey expects hydrogen for fuel cell electric vehicles to break even with diesel only in 2028 at the earliest, but automakers are moving ahead with their plans, albeit at different speeds.

Nikola and Iveco say they will produce a fuel cell electric vehicle by 2023, which will give them two years ahead of Volvo and Daimler Truck, which are beefing up but will not have test trucks for three. years and a half.

In addition, the subsidiary of the Daimler group, Mercedes Benz, will prepare customer tests for its GenH2 truck in 2023.

“Nikola’s schedule is significantly ahead of Daimler / Volvo,” Stumpp said. “Hyundai will be neck and neck with Nikola / Iveco if they bring the Xcient to other European markets.”

Martin Daum, managing director of Daimler Truck, said a hydrogen refueling network must first be in place before fuel cell trucks find buyers, which would take years to develop, from so that they were timing their trips according to the infrastructure.

Truckmaker Paccar’s DAF is also in the game, but its focus is battery-electric vehicles, where Nikola is also active and expects to enter the market in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Other companies have also chosen to put fuel cell technology on the back burner.

Traton, Volkswagen’s truck division, recently said that only the battery route was chosen by its MAN and Scania units.

“Hydrogen trucks have a decisive drawback. Only a quarter of the initial energy is used for propulsion, three quarters is lost by conversion, ”wrote Matthias Gruendler, CEO of Traton, and alternative transmission specialist Andreas Kammel in a column in Handelsblatt.

“With electric trucks, the ratio is the reverse,” they said.

Traton left the door ajar by increasing its investment in truck maker Navistar, which develops fuel cells in the Americas.

SUPPLIERS

On the automotive supply front, companies are hedging their bets.

Bosch, a fuel cell developer, has entered into a joint venture with China’s Qingling Motors to deliver fuel cell systems by 2022/2023.

Elringklinger and Mahle are also working on fuel cell technology.

U.S. engine maker Cummins, which is due to start building a fuel cell systems plant in Herten, Germany later this year, sees no conflict.

“Fuel cells will complement the battery electric vehicle (BEV) system in places where energy storage, range, weight and power requirements cannot be met by batteries alone,” said Amy Davis, president of New Power at Cummins.

“This is why we are investing in electric vehicle powertrain components, because we believe these will also mature and be critical to both fuel cells and batteries.

(1 USD = 0.8188 euros)

(Reporting by Vera Eckert in Frankfurt and John Revill in Zurich; additional reporting by Nick Carey in London. Editing by Jane Merriman)


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Brexit news: France jealous of Brexit Britain: campaign pleads to copy British plans | Politics | New https://raileisure.com/brexit-news-france-jealous-of-brexit-britain-campaign-pleads-to-copy-british-plans-politics-new/ https://raileisure.com/brexit-news-france-jealous-of-brexit-britain-campaign-pleads-to-copy-british-plans-politics-new/#respond Sun, 23 May 2021 09:34:21 +0000 https://raileisure.com/brexit-news-france-jealous-of-brexit-britain-campaign-pleads-to-copy-british-plans-politics-new/

Brexit: David McCredie discusses UK trade deal with Australia

The Prime Minister and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps have unveiled their ambitious plan to create a new public sector body to oversee UK railways. Mr Shapps said on Thursday that the new body would simplify an “overly complicated” system.

This decision was described in the French daily Le Monde as a “profound reorganization of the rail system”.

They wrote: “Little by little, without really saying it, Boris Johnson unraveled the Thatcher revolution point by point.

“After a sharp increase in state spending, demanded by the Covid-19 pandemic, the British Prime Minister is implementing a profound reorganization of the rail system, largely undermining the privatization launched in 1994.

“On Thursday 20 May the UK government announced the creation of a public company which will now oversee train operations in the UK.”

Frexit activists jumped at the chance to congratulate the UK on its political success, saying Brexit was at the heart of it.

Brexit News: Boris Johnson is unraveling a ‘Thatcher revolution’, say the French (Image: GETTY)

Grant Shapps UK Railway Great British Railways

Mr Shapps said on Thursday the new body would simplify an ‘overly complicated’ system (Image: GETTY)

Sharing the Le Monde article on Twitter, Generation Frexit Deputy Secretary General Hugo Sonnier scoffed at Brexit skeptics who said the UK would face catastrophic fate ahead of the Brexit referendum.

He joked: “The country’s news has fallen into the Brexit abyss.

“Let’s take control! Frexit!”

Great British Railways (GBR) will own and manage the rail infrastructure, issue contracts with private companies to run trains, set most fares and timetables, and sell tickets.

It will absorb Network Rail in a bid to end what the Department of Transport (DfT) has called a “blame game system” between rail and rail operations in the event of disruption.

READ MORE: Hard Brexit justified! Current members of the EEA ‘want to leave’

Mr Shapps said that during the 2018 calendar fiasco there was no “big controller” in charge of the system, referring to the stories of Thomas The Tank Engine.

He told Sky News: “It’s too complicated.

“But I don’t want to go back to the days of British Rail either.

“We have had a decrease in the number of passengers and the train stations closed.

“It will always be with the participation of the private sector, which will manage the concessions, run the trains themselves, but they will be paid to run those trains on time, keep them tidy and clean, and it will be one organization. who will sell you the tickets. and run the schedule. “

The cabinet minister, who describes himself as a commuter who wants “a railway that works”, added: “This is a simplification that I think people will widely welcome.”

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The Williams-Shapps plan for rail was published as a white paper.

It is based on the recommendations of an industry review carried out by former British Airways CEO Keith Williams following the chaotic introduction of new schedules in May 2018.

The plan was originally due to be released in fall 2019 but was delayed by the general election and the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I am a big fan of rail, but for too long passengers have not had the level of service they deserve.

“By creating Great British Railways and investing in the future of the network, this government will provide a rail system the country can be proud of.”

The GBR is not expected to be created until 2023.

Its logo will be an updated version of British Rail’s double boom.

It will be published at a later date.

Many reforms will be made before the launch of the organization.

Flexible subscriptions will be introduced, offering savings on some routes for people who travel to work two or three times a week.

These will go on sale June 21 for use seven days later.

There will also be a “significant roll-out” of more paid, contactless and digital ticketing on smartphones, the Department of Transport (DfT) said.

Rail franchises effectively ended when the government took over financial liabilities from operators in March 2020 to keep services running amid the collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, at a cost of £ 12 billion. sterling.

Emergency agreements will be replaced by passenger service contracts, with GBR engaging private companies to operate the trains.

This concession model is similar to that used for the London Overground and Docklands Light Railway services by Transport for London.

The new organization will specify most of the timetables and prices.

Operators will be encouraged to offer high quality services and increase the number of passengers.

Mr Williams commented: “Our plan is built around the passenger, with new contracts that prioritize great performance and better service, better fares, and creating clear leadership and real accountability when things are going badly. “


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How France was forced to save the Eurostar https://raileisure.com/how-france-was-forced-to-save-the-eurostar/ https://raileisure.com/how-france-was-forced-to-save-the-eurostar/#respond Sat, 22 May 2021 11:00:00 +0000 https://raileisure.com/how-france-was-forced-to-save-the-eurostar/

A source said: “Everything has been turned upside down and we have basically become political football.”

The following weeks were a scramble to convince lenders to back a second bailout. Shareholders knew they would have to do “the heavy lifting”. In April, an agreement in principle was reached and officially announced last week.

The owners of Eurostar injected £ 50m and £ 200m of debt has been restructured. The total amount injected by shareholders since the start of the pandemic is £ 415million.

“From a purely business point of view, you probably wouldn’t [the deal], if it was all about money, ”says a source.

The events left a bitter taste in the mouths of Eurostar and its shareholders. Although Eurostar took advantage of the government’s time off program, it was unable to access any of the government’s other Covid support projects. Insiders repeatedly compare this to the billions in loans and guarantees given to Rolls-Royce, British Airways and easyJet.

A source points out that it was not only French taxpayers who had to pay to save Eurostar. Hermes invested on behalf of UK council pension schemes; The CDPQ does this on behalf of Canadians.

Eurostar will start to scale up its services on May 27. But fears remain that another wave of the virus, coupled with restrictions, could bring Damascus, its board of directors and shareholders to square one.

“Things are not over,” says a high-level source. “We are far from being out of the woods. “If it stays like this for another 12 months, we will go back.”


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After 11 days of fighting, Gaza ceasefire holds https://raileisure.com/after-11-days-of-fighting-gaza-ceasefire-holds/ https://raileisure.com/after-11-days-of-fighting-gaza-ceasefire-holds/#respond Fri, 21 May 2021 09:53:46 +0000 https://raileisure.com/after-11-days-of-fighting-gaza-ceasefire-holds/

Foreign Policy’s flagship daily newsletter with what’s happening in the world today. Delivered during the week.

May 21, 2021 @ 5:53 am

Here is today Foreign police in short: Cease-fire in Gaza holds up after 11 days of battle, South Korean President Moon Jae-in visit the White House and the G-20 World Health Summit launches in Rome.

If you would like to receive Morning Brief in your inbox every day of the week, please sign up here.


It’s only 10 hours, but a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas appears to be held after 11 days of Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket launches in the most intense fighting between the two sides since 2014.

Welcoming the ceasefire negotiated by Egypt on Thursday, US President Joe Biden mentionned his administration “will continue our silent and relentless diplomacy” to seek peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. Biden said he would work through the United Nations to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Gaza, with funds going through the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, which the United States considers a terrorist group. Biden also pledged to rebuild Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, which has largely countered the more than 4,000 rockets launched from Gaza.

Politically speaking, the leaders of Israel and Gaza have strengthened their own status. Hamas claimed to have received insurance on stopping the impending deportations of Palestinians in East Jerusalem under the ceasefire agreement (which Israel denies), underlining their claim to be the legitimate defenders of their people unlike their rivals in the Palestinian Authority led by Fatah. Hamas will need all the political goodwill at its disposal, as its military capabilities have likely been severely degraded.

For Benjamin Netanyahu, he has bought him more time as prime minister and sabotaged the chances of his rival, Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, to form a government that could have removed him. If Israel holds its fifth election in two years, Netanyahu hopes voters will reward his hard line in Gaza and return to his Likud party after flirting with right-wing alternatives in the April election.

The human toll. Abstract political victories have been paid for by very real human losses. Gaza officials mentionned 232 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bombs in the past 11 days, including 65 children. Twelve people in Israel, including two children, were killed by Hamas rockets. In Gaza, roughly 91,000 Palestinians have been displaced, the majority taking refuge in schools run by the UN.

Reconstitution. The destruction of Gaza will take years to rebuild, according to Matthias Schmele, Gaza director of UNRWA, the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees; 16,800 homes were damaged by the bombing, of which 1,000 were completely destroyed, according to Gaza Ministry of Housing. “The biggest pity of all of this is the trauma,” Schmele said. Foreign police, adding that mental health support must be part of any future investment. “Buildings you can rebuild. But people’s lives will not be easy.

What’s next for Biden? Elise Labott writes in Foreign police that instead of starting a new peace process, the Biden administration should apply its own democratic standards to the region. For Palestinians, “the time has come for the United States to stop dancing around the misery they face under Israeli occupation,” Labott writes, suggesting that the Biden administration should focus on the struggle. for an end to the blockade of Gaza while urging reforms (and elections). for the Palestinian leadership.

Regarding Israel, Biden should apply the same human rights standards as with other allies and “must end the impunity which has allowed discriminatory policies against Palestinians and made governance more difficult.” Palestinian in the occupied territories ”. In the short term, writes Labott, “the United States should push Israel to ensure equal protection under the law for all of its citizens, including rescinding the evictions from home in Sheikh Jarrah and curbing Israeli extremists.”

In the immediate future, Biden is would have closed choose an ambassador to Israel and is sender its Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the region.


What we are tracking today

Moon Jae-in at the White House. South Korean President Moon Jae-in visits the White House today, only the second world leader (after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga) to meet Biden in person since taking office. North Korea is likely to be high on the agenda, as is access to vaccines as South Korea faces a supply shortage. The trip will likely be Moon’s last visit to the White House before his one-term presidency ends next year. As S. Nathan Park writes in Foreign police the meeting could be the “right time for White House Biden to herald a new era of the 68-year alliance” and to start treating South Korea as a full partner rather than “as one of the chess pieces facing North Korea. . “

Rohani says the case is near. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that the United States agreed to lift the sanctions on its oil, maritime and banking sectors, as he told a cabinet meeting that the remaining points discussed in indirect negotiations in Vienna were “minor issues”. Factions within Iranian politics appear to be struggling ahead of the June presidential election, as an unnamed Iranian official appeared to contradict Rouhani on state television. The official said the United States would not “completely” lift the sanctions and instead would be temporarily suspended “over a long period and in several stages.” Efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program are becoming increasingly urgent as a monitoring agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency expires today.

G-20 Health Summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are expected to speak today G-20 World Health Summit, hosted by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in Rome. The meeting is expected to result in the approval of a set of principles on preventing future pandemics as well as a commitment to fund the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 ACT-Accelerator, an initiative to scale up the access to tests, vaccines and therapies. The session is also likely to see a discussion on a proposed COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property waiver, currently before the World Trade Organization.


Europe freezes the deal with China. The European Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority on Thursday in favour freeze the ratification of a new investment agreement with China. The move was another blow to the blow after Beijing sanctioned 10 MEPs in retaliation for Western sanctions over the treatment of its Uyghur population in Xinjiang. “With its sanctions, China has miscalculated. They should learn from their mistakes and rethink. Due to Chinese sanctions, the Comprehensive Investment Agreement has been put in the freezer, ”said Reinhard Butikofer, one of the members sanctioned by China.

Global minimum taxes. During OECD negotiations, the Biden administration agreed to a 15% global minimum tax on large multinationals, the Financial Times reports, a reduction in its previous claim of a minimum of 21 percent. This decision would apply to the profits generated in each country, whether or not it has a physical presence in the country. The measure is fiercely opposed by countries with low corporate tax rates like Ireland, which currently has a rate of 12.5%.

Democracy in Chad. The African Union has called for a democratic transition in Chad in the next 18 months in response to a military takeover following the death of President Idriss Déby in April. The junta has already set up a transitional civilian leadership and announced in April that it would hold elections within 18 months. On Thursday, the African Union said it “categorically rejects any form of extension of the transition period.”


A driver of a Japanese bullet train faces disciplinary measures after leaving the controls unattended for a bathroom break while the train and its 160 passengers traveled at over 90 miles an hour. The driver left the cockpit for a total of three minutes as an unqualified train driver remained behind. According to Central Japan Railway, the operator of the train line, the driver was experiencing abdominal pain and wanted to avoid delaying the train by having to stop at the next station. The conductor could have gotten away with the offense had the company not noticed an extremely rare event for Japanese Shinkansen trains: he was running a minute behind schedule.


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Launch of the night train between Paris and Nice https://raileisure.com/launch-of-the-night-train-between-paris-and-nice/ https://raileisure.com/launch-of-the-night-train-between-paris-and-nice/#respond Fri, 21 May 2021 09:45:55 +0000 https://raileisure.com/launch-of-the-night-train-between-paris-and-nice/

Launch of the night train between Paris and Nice

Travelers from the capital could reach the French Riviera for less than 20 euros

Yesterday May 20, the French Prime Minister unveiled a night train line between Paris and Nice. Jean Castex, who was on board for the first trip on the line, left the Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris on Thursday at 8:52 p.m., reaching his final destination the next morning, twelve hours later. On this occasion, he underlined the sustainable dimension of the new transport alternative and pledged to invest 100 million euros in night trains as part of France’s recovery plan.

Night trains return for the European Year of Rail

The sleeper between Paris and Nice has six stops, among which Marseille, Toulon and Cannes and is reputed to have multiple advantages. Firstly, it is more accessible than the TGV (high speed train) or air travel: tickets are available from 19 euros for a reclined seat, 29 euros for a second class berth and 39 euros for a first berth. .

Second, it is considered a more durable alternative to short-haul flight. According to Greenpeace data, such an airplane trip would take up to six times more energy and produce many more carbon dioxide emissions.

Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Castex stressed that France is paying particular attention to rail transport in its Covid recovery plan. More specifically, the country will invest 5.3 billion euros in total in infrastructure, green transition and track maintenance, accessibility and safety.

Part of this funding, up to 100 million euros, will go to night trains, to expand the existing offer of just two lines, connecting Paris to Briançon in the Southern Alps and Rodez in the southwest, informs Euractiv . Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari had previously announced that the country planned to have at least 12 such lines by the end of the decade, with a line between Paris and Tarbes set to open this year already.


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News Digest: International Trains Return, Minister Shows New Vax Certificate https://raileisure.com/news-digest-international-trains-return-minister-shows-new-vax-certificate/ https://raileisure.com/news-digest-international-trains-return-minister-shows-new-vax-certificate/#respond Thu, 20 May 2021 15:29:38 +0000 https://raileisure.com/news-digest-international-trains-return-minister-shows-new-vax-certificate/

Cyprus classified Slovakia as a red country. The Department of Defense plans to purchase two Black Hawk helicopters.

This is the Thursday, May 20, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia .

In today’s summary:

Bilingual confirmation for vaccination available from Saturday

The Slovak Railway Company (ZSSK) has resumed operation of some trains that had been stopped due to the coronavirus. The first InterCity train will return to the railways in mid-June. It will connect Košice to Vienna via Bratislava.

The decision came after the ban on recreational travel abroad was lifted. This will make it easier for residents of Slovakia to travel abroad, but they will have to check which rules are valid in the country they are interested in. You can find the rules for traveling to the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Spain, Italy, United States of America and Canada here.

People vaccinated against Covid-19 in Slovakia will not yet be exempt from the rules in place at the borders of foreign countries. This is mainly due to the fact that Slovak vaccination certificates are only written in Slovak and do not have a unified form.

That is expected to change on Saturday when vaccination centers start issuing unified bilingual confirmations. Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský has shown what the new confirmation would look like. Those already vaccinated will be able to request the certificate from Monday by e-mail which will be provided on Korona.gov.sk.

The Monetary Fund expects a strong economic recovery this year

The International Monetary Fund expects a strong economic recovery this year, saying real GDP growth could reach 4.7% this year and accelerate further in 2022. Uncertainty remains high, however.

“With the decline of the second wave of infections, the economy appears to be heading for a strong recovery this year and next year, although uncertainty remains very high,” The IMF commented in its recent report.

Continued budget support is warranted until the recovery is firmly entrenched, but policies should be increasingly targeted and focused on facilitating the reallocation of resources and enhancing the potential of the economy, says IMF .

Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • The most common cause of death in Slovakia in the first quarter of 2021 was Covid-19; 39 percent dead people have died from this disease. In the first three months of this year, more people have succumbed to Covid than what is typically the most common cause of death – diseases of the circulatory system. Almost four-fifths of those killed by the coronavirus were over 65 years old.
  • A homeless who was fined in Bratislava for violating lock rules does not have to pay it. The fined man was in Bratislava while he was permanently resident in Slovenská Ľupča.
  • Cyprus ranked Slovakia among the red countries from May 20. Travelers must undergo pre-flight PCR tests, which cannot be older than 72 hours. Upon arrival in Cyprus, travelers must undergo another PCR test, paid for out of pocket. They must remain in home quarantine until they receive the result. They must also complete a flight pass for Cyprus.
  • During the negotiations on Russian Sputnik V vaccine, health requirements Ministry were accepted, said Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský. However, he did not specify the ministry’s requirements. He also confirmed after Wednesday’s negotiations at the Finance Ministry that the purchase of 2 million pieces of Sputnik V was still in the process of being awarded.

Today’s photo

Flooded rivers in places around Slovakia damaged crops. Farmers near rivers count their losses.

Featured article for today

Today is World Bee Day, a good day to read about bees in Bratislava.


Bratislava honey tastes like a mixture of meadow flowers and trees Read more

Other news

  • The Department of Defense plans to use the US $ 50 million offer to buy two Black Hawk UH-60 M helicopters with equipment. The ministry is expected to pay an additional $ 61 million. The contract should include a new system or spare parts for the helicopters.
  • The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) detained eight people for corruption crimes linked to the Slovak Land Fund (SPF). Seven have been charged. The lawyer for financier Martin Kvietik has confirmed that his client is accused in a new corruption case involving the Slovak Land Fund. He filed a complaint against the prosecution. Kvietik is still in a pre-trial detention cell.
  • The unemployment rate recorded in April in Slovakia has increased from 0.02 percentage point mom to 8%. The Central Office for Labor, Social Affairs and Family said that on an annual basis, the registered unemployment rate increased by 1.43 percentage points.
  • Prosecutor General Maroš Žilinka transferred former Prosecutor General Dobroslav Trnka to the Žilina Regional Prosecutor’s Office. Trnka, who is being prosecuted in the Gorilla case, had worked in the attorney general’s office. He was temporarily suspended.
  • Cash controls will be strengthened from June 3. According to the new rules, it will be necessary to declare the transport of foreign currency when sending money by post or freight from the European Union to third countries or vice versa. The sender or recipient must submit a report on the sender, recipient, origin of funds and their probable use to Financial Administration within 30 days.
  • Production at the Trnava car manufacturer Stellantis Slovakia is still suspended due to the shortage of semiconductor components. Much of the plant has been closed since the start of this week. According to the automaker’s website, only employees unloading trucks come to work at this time.

Do not miss Spectator.sk today


Lost and found on the Košice highway Read more


Slovak MEPs oppose EP report on sexual health Read more


A merchant and a farmer will walk tourists through the city Read more


Poll: the party of the previous prime minister would win the election (+ graphics) Read more

If you have any suggestions on how this news preview can be improved, you can contact us at editorial@spectator.sk.

20. May 2021 at 17:29 | Nina Hrabovská Francelová


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Brexit News live: UK looks ‘desperate’ to secure trade deals, expert says https://raileisure.com/brexit-news-live-uk-looks-desperate-to-secure-trade-deals-expert-says/ https://raileisure.com/brexit-news-live-uk-looks-desperate-to-secure-trade-deals-expert-says/#respond Thu, 20 May 2021 12:15:22 +0000 https://raileisure.com/brexit-news-live-uk-looks-desperate-to-secure-trade-deals-expert-says/

Daily political briefing today

The UK appears “desperate” in its attempts to strike free trade deals after Brexit, an expert has warned.

David Henig, co-founder of the UK Trade Forum, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that a deal with Australia will set a precedent for future deals with other major agricultural exporters like New Zealand and the United States.

He suggested it was not “the smartest move” for the UK to set its own deadline for a deal to be reached, as it gives Australia a strong negotiating position.

It comes as the UK wants to confirm a deal with Australia at the time of the G7 summit on June 11.

“We are desperate to get these deals – this is the way this government works. We have to hope that they will be the right deals and balance all the different interests, ”said Mr. Henig.

His comments follow a bitter dispute within the government over whether to grant Australian beef and lamb duty-free access to the UK market. Environment Minister George Eustice and Cabinet Minister Michael Gove are reportedly against the move, while Commerce Secretary Liz Truss and Brexit Minister David Frost are in favor.

SNP Ian Blackford on Wednesday accused Boris Johnson of betraying British farmers and throwing them “under the Brexit bus”.

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Great British Railways: What powers will the new public body have?

The government wants to fix the country’s rail system because it’s “just too complicated,” Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said earlier today.

Ministers hope to improve services through the creation of Great British Railways (GBR), a new public rail operator.

But what are the powers of the GBR and will it work?

Joe sommerlad has all the answers:

Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 1:15 PM

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Transport secretary says taking charge of all trains by a public body “ is not a renationalization ”

In a statement in the House of Commons, Grant Shapps told MPs: “This is not a renationalization, which this government continues to believe in the failure of the railways, but rather a simplification. .

“As Great British Railways takes the lead role in coordinating the entire network, our plan will see greater involvement of the private sector.

“Private companies will be hired to operate the trains and services, and tariffs will be set by Great British Railways.

“But it will work more like the London buses and the London Overground – provided by private companies but labeled as a single national service.”

Shadow Transportation Secretary Jim McMahon said: “While I welcome the measures to increase public ownership and control of the railways, as you would expect, it does not go far enough in this current plan.

“I believe there is a lot of evidence that shows that more comprehensive public ownership rather than a concessional model would better serve the state, the public and long-term investment.”

Samuel osborneMay 20, 2021 12:52 PM

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Former MP violated Parliament’s policy on sexual misconduct, independent committee says

Former MP Mike Hill broke Parliament’s policy on sexual misconduct, an independent committee concluded.

The Independent Panel of Experts (IEP) said Mr Hill, who resigned as MP for Hartlepool in March, would have faced significant punishment had he not resigned.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle deprived Mr Hill of his right to a parliamentary pass as a former MP.

Sir Stephen Irwin, President of the IEP said: “The subcommittee took a very serious view of his conduct, and had he remained a Member of Parliament, a significant sanction would have been considered.

“In light of his resignation, however, the subcommittee concluded that no sanction available met the facts of this case and the specific circumstances of the defendant. They therefore neither imposed nor recommended a sanction.”

Former Labor MP Mr Hill is also facing an employment tribunal case, a decision due towards the end of June.

Samuel osborneMay 20, 2021 12:22 PM

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UK failed to secure desired Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, says Frost

The Prime Minister’s chief Brexit negotiator admitted that the UK did not get the deal it wanted for Northern Ireland.

David Frost’s comments to The spectator paint a different picture of Boris Johnson’s assurances in November 2019 that Northern Ireland ‘has a lot of stuff’.

Rory sullivan20 May 2021 12:00

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Starmer should leave if Labor loses next by-election, says Abbott

For those who missed the previous post on this, Diane Abbott said Keir Starmer would have to leave if Labor lost the Batley and Spen by-election.

Meanwhile, fellow left-winger Rebecca Long-Bailey has said a loss will require ‘serious discussions’ about her future.

Here is our political editor Andrew Woodcock with all the details:

Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 11:43 AM

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Civil servants with the ‘right accent’ get the best jobs, reports show

People from under-represented backgrounds struggle to climb the top ranks of the public service because the system favors people with the “right accent,” according to a new report.

A study by the Social Mobility Commission revealed that 72% of senior civil servants came from privileged backgrounds.

Steven Cooper, Acting Co-Chair of the Committee on Social Mobility, said: “Civil servants from disadvantaged backgrounds are significantly under-represented in the organization, and even if they ‘come in’ they can struggle to ‘ get along ”.”

The report suggests that “the right accent and ‘studied neutrality’” have helped people advance in the public service.

Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 11:25 AM

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Patel expands quarantine enforcement controls

The government said there would be 10,000 home checks every day to make sure returning vacationers don’t violate quarantine rules.

Interior Minister Priti Patel said people “will not be left unchecked” once enforcement capacity is strengthened.

“Significant resources have been put in place – millions of pounds – in terms of monitoring people tracking around their tests and making sure they stay home. It has been stepped up, ”she said.

Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 11:05 am

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Government’s pilot mass events program ‘positive results’, minister says

The government’s pilot mass events program has produced “positive results” so far, said Oliver Dowden.

The Culture Secretary told the House of Commons he was “delighted” that venues such as the National Gallery and the English National Ballet have reopened.

However, he stressed that these and other institutions can only return to normal after the next step in easing the lockdown, the viability of which is being investigated by the Events Research Program.

“And I can tell the House that we have had positive results from these drivers at events such as the Brits, the FA Cup Final and Crucible and these will inform our approach to the reopening in Stage 4. “said Mr. Dowden.

Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 10:45 AM

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Foster criticizes protocol and praises Brexit

Speaking outside Downing Street on Wednesday, Arlene Foster welcomed Brexit while condemning the Northern Ireland protocol.

On her last trip to London as Prime Minister, she said: “I think you have to separate Brexit and protocol.

“The protocol is hurting Northern Ireland.

“Of course, I believe in Brexit because I believe that we had to leave the European Union and all the strict rules that were there, to allow us to be more flexible, to allow us to have a place in the world.

“But if the UK is to have a new place in the world, Northern Ireland has to be part of it and right now, because of the protocol, we are not.”

Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 10:25 AM

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Free trade deal with Australia could ‘decimate’ UK agriculture, warns Labor

A zero-tariff trade deal with Australia could “decimate” the British agricultural industry, the Labor Party has said.

Opposition parties united to oppose the proposal, with shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry asking why the government would want to undermine the industry just to “prove a political point.”

She said Sky News: “I don’t think there is a country all over the world that will make a deal saying, ‘Well, yeah, that can decimate our agricultural industry, but we have to make a deal in order to prove a political point’. “

“Why would we want to undermine our agricultural industry? We have high standards in our country when it comes to animal welfare and food production, and we don’t want that to be compromised by cheap imports of food that is not produced to the same standards ”, a- she added.

Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 10:07 AM


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